Effects of measles on the immune system are only partially understood. Lymphoid tissue is a primary site of measles virus (MeV) replication where CD150 is the receptor for infection of both B and T cells. Lymphocyte depletion occurs during the acute phase of infection, but initiation of the adaptive immune response leads to extensive lymphocyte proliferation, production of MeV-specific antibody and T cells, the rash and clearance of infectious virus. Viral RNA persists in lymphoid tissue accompanied by ongoing germinal center proliferation, production of antibody-secreting cells, functionally distinct populations of T cells and antibody avidity maturation to establish life-long immunity. However, at the same time diversity of pre-existing antibodies and numbers of memory and naive B cells are reduced and susceptibility to other infections is increased.
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