After intravenous infection of mice with 10(3) infectious units (IU) the WE strain lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) virus multiplied in the spleens (as in all other major organs), reaching more than 10(8) IU/g of tissue on days 4 to 5. Subsequently, the virus was quickly eliminated, being below detectability usually by day 10. During the time of virus clearance, the mononuclear phagocytes (MNP) of the spleen were activated as revealed by suppression of growth of Listeria monocytogenes and increase of cell-associated hydrolytic enzymes. In athymic nude mice, in whom the MNP system is assumed to be permanently activated, the virus replicated slightly but reproducibly less than in their euthymic counterparts. However, when the MNP were activated by Corynebacterium parvum, virus in spleens attained higher concentrations than in mice not so treated, and the rate of elimination was not altered. In mice whose MNP had been damaged by injection of dextran sulfate 500, the spleen virus titers were also increased, but the subsequent immune elimination was slightly delayed. Activation of spleen MNP was not evident at the time virus was rapidly cleared as a result of transfusion of LCM-immune T lymphocytes. Adoptive immunization was as successful in mice that had been pretreated with gamma-rays or cyclophosphamide, suggesting that replicating cells or their descendants, in particular monocytes, did not participate measurably in the process of elimination. Pretreatments of recipients with dextran sulfate 500 reduced the efficacy of transfused LCM-immune T lymphocytes, but this compound probably directly affected the cells. We interpret these findings to mean that the LCM virus in the mouse's spleen is controlled by a mechanism in which MNP do not play an essential role.

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