SUMMARY: (p.b.y.) was found to cause an acute self-limiting infection in Balb/c mice, lasting for 14 to 18 days. A sharp fall in the primary response to sheep erythrocytes, as measured by the number of haemolytic plaque-forming cells in the spleen, and by the appearance of antibodies in the serum, coincided with high levels of parasitaemia between the 8th and 11th days of p.b.y. infection. A secondary response to sheep erythrocytes was similarly affected when animals were infected with p.b.y. 9 days before the second antigen injection. Mice were resistant to reinfection with p.b.y., which produced either transient or no parasitaemia, and no immunodepression.

In mice carrying an immunodepressive leukaemogenic virus by vertical transmission, infection with a similar dose of p.b.y. was usually fatal.

Murine sarcoma virus (Harvey: m.s.v./H) produces tumours and splenomegaly in newborn mice but very rarely in adults. When injected into adult Balb/c mice at the height of p.b.y. infection, m.s.v./H produced a high incidence of splenomegaly 4 weeks later, although the splenomegaly induced by the plasmodium alone had by then subsided.

These results are discussed in relation to Burkitt's (1969) hypothesis of a causal connection between chronic malarial infection and development of Burkitt lymphoma in children.


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