Malignant rabbit fibroma virus causes secondary immunosuppression in rabbits. Academic Article uri icon


  • Shope fibroma virus (SFV) causes a localized, self-limited, fibroblastic proliferation in adult rabbits. Extracts of Shope fibroma tumors were found to contain a second virus that induces a rapidly progressive disseminated tumor. Dissemination of this malignant fibroma is associated with activation of commensal mucosal infection with Pasteurella multocida, causing purulent conjunctivitis and rhinitis and resulting in death from nasal obstruction. We have isolated this new agent by two cycles of plaque purification. It is a poxvirus that is antigenically virtually identical to SFV as measured by a plaque reduction assay, but behaves differently both in vivo and in vitro. We have called this virus malignant rabbit fibroma virus (MV). Electrophoresis of restriction digests made with HIND III indicates that despite the antigenic similarity of SFV and MV, the locations of HIND III sites in the two viral genomes are quite different. These experiments have enabled us to determine that MV was present in small quantities in our initial uncloned stock of Patuxent strain SFV. Lymphocytes from rabbits bearing MV-induced tumors responded poorly to both B and T lymphocyte mitogens. This nonspecific immunologic dysfunction is evident at or before the time when metastases and Gram-negative infection develop, and it becomes more profound as the disease progresses. MV-induced tumors may provide a model for Gram-negative infection and decreased immunologic responsiveness associated with malignancies.

published proceedings

  • J Immunol

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Strayer, D. S., Skaletsky, E., Cabirac, G. F., Sharp, P. A., Corbeil, L. B., Sell, S., & Leibowitz, J. L.

citation count

  • 47

complete list of authors

  • Strayer, DS||Skaletsky, E||Cabirac, GF||Sharp, PA||Corbeil, LB||Sell, S||Leibowitz, JL

publication date

  • January 1983