Growth of malignant rabbit fibroma virus in lymphoid cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • To understand better the immunosuppressive capacity of malignant rabbit fibroma virus (MV), we characterized MV growth in lymphoid cells. Replication of MV occurs in unstimulated normal spleen cells in vitro and is enhanced by adding T- or B-lymphocyte mitogens. In splenic T-lymphocyte preparations, comparable results are found: virus growth in the absence of mitogen, augmented by adding Con A. Unlike mature T cells, thymic lymphocytes support MV replication only when mitogen is added. When spleen cells from rabbits infected with MV in vivo are removed and cultured without mitogen, MV growth is again observed, with virus titer increasing about 10-fold per day of culture. In spleen cell populations from MV tumor-bearing rabbits, MV grows best in T lymphocytes, moderately in B lymphocytes, and least efficiently in adherent cells. When spleen cells are examined immediately following sacrifice, MV antigens are expressed solely on T lymphocytes from rabbits infected in vivo with MV 7 days previously. However, following overnight incubation in vitro a population of non-T lymphocytes displays cell membrane virus antigens. MV adapts itself somewhat to growth in lymphocytes, showing significantly greater growth in lymphocytes following passage in lymphocytes than is observed for non-lymphocyte-propagated virus. MV-infected lymphocytes also elaborate a factor that enhances MV growth in lymphocytes. Thus, MV replicates preferentially in mature T lymphocytes but will grow well in B cells as well. In vivo infection produces relatively small amounts of recoverable virus. However, when these lymphocytes are cultured in vitro virus replicates very well without added mitogens. These growth patterns may help to understand MV-induced immunologic dysfunction.

published proceedings

  • Virology

author list (cited authors)

  • Strayer, D. S., Skaletsky, E., Leibowitz, J. L., & Dombrowski, J.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Strayer, DS||Skaletsky, E||Leibowitz, JL||Dombrowski, J

publication date

  • May 1987