The course of Sindbis virus infection in 12-day-old BALB/c mice was altered significantly in animals depleted of the third component of complement (C3) by treatment with purified cobra venom factor (CoVF). Although the same percentage of C3-depleted and normal animals died (30%) after the subcutaneous inoculation of 1000 PFU Sindbis virus, the mean day of death was later in C3-depleted mice (8.4 days) than in controls (6.5 days). In addition, morbidity was prolonged in C3-depleted mice. Growth of virus at the inoculation site in the foot was not different; however, viremia was prolonged and the amount of virus in the brain was 1000-fold greater 6 days after infection in C3-depleted animals. These studies demonstrated that complement plays an important role in the host's response to Sindbis virus infection by participating in both beneficial and immunopathologic responses to the infection.
This work was supported in part by United States Public Health Service Grants NS-10920, NS-07000, and AI-11637.