Role of the immune response in Sindbis virus-induced paralysis of SJL/J mice

F. Mokhtarian, D. Grob, D. E. Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The pathologic role of the specific immune and inflammatory responses to viral infections of the CNS was investigated by using mice which are susceptible (SJL/J) and resistant (C57B16 and BALB/c) to the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Intracerebral inoculation of 104 PFU of Sindbis virus (SV) into 6- to 8-wk-old SJL/J mice resulted in a severe and sometimes fatal encephalomyelitis. A mild to severe hind leg paralysis was observed around days 6 to 7 postinfection (pi) which closely resembled EAE stages and persisted for up to 8 wk pi. Immunosuppression with cyclophosphamide on day 4 alleviated the severity of this disease. Significant perivascular and parenchymal infiltration was present in the brain and spinal cords of SV-infected SJL/J mice for up to 1 mo. This apparent immunopathologic reaction was found to be a characteristic of SJL/J mice, because infection of 6- to 8-wk-old BALB/c and C57B16 mice with SV did not cause paralytic disease. These mice also exhibited a significantly milder cellular infiltrate which was mostly resolved on day 12 to 14 pi. Titers of virus in the brain and spinal cords of mice were comparable with clearance by day 7 pi. SV-specific lymphoproliferation and serum antibody responses were also comparable in all mice. SV-infected SJL/J mice developed antibodies to myelin components as demonstrated in Western blots and responded to myelin basic protein by lymphoproliferation. Lymph node cells from these mice, after in vitro challenge with myelin basic protein, transferred a mild EAE-like disease to naive recipients and potentiated subclinical EAE into a severe disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-637
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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