Fourteen T cell lines of rabbits were infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and examined for their susceptibility to lytic infection and ability to support virus replication. T cell lines of CD4+ 8- phenotype were more vulnerable to lysis and supported higher levels of virus replication than those of other phenotypes. Cell lines of CD4+ 8+ and CD4- 8+ phenotypes continued to proliferate, while remaining productively infected, for more than a month. These latently infected cell lines could be established by treatment with anti-HSV-1 serum and complement. Viral genes were only partially expressed and the CD8 membrane antigen was down-regulated. Infected cell lines, as well as peripheral blood lymphocytes, were shown to induce meningoencephalitis when inoculated intravenously into syngeneic hosts, suggesting a possible role for infected lymphocytes in HSV-1 transport in vivo.


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