It has been recognized that macrophages play an important role in controlling virus infection in experimental animal models. To evaluate the role of macrophages in acute murine cytomegalovirus infection, macrophages in the spleen and the liver were eliminated by an intravenous injection of liposomes containing a cytolytic agent, dichloromethylene diphosphonate. The depletion of macrophages led to a significant increase of virus titer in the spleen and lungs in both susceptible BALB/c and resistant C57BL/6 mice during the first three days after intravenous infection. In the spleen, the increase of virus titer in macrophage-depleted BALB/c mice was much greater than that in NK cell-depleted mice. These results suggest that macrophages contribute to protection mainly by the mechanisms which are independent of NK cells during the first three days after infection. The increase of virus titer in macrophage-depleted C57BL/6 mice was as great as that in NK cell-depleted mice because of the high contribution of NK cells to protection in C57BL/6 mice. In the liver in both strains of mice, the effects of macrophage depletion on virus titer were not as much as those in the spleen and lungs. Furthermore, the local depletion of peritoneal macrophages resulted in a great increase of virus titer in the spleen at three days after intraperitoneal infection. We conclude that macrophages greatly contribute to decreasing the virus load in some organs possibly through either or both intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms in the early phase of primary infection with murine cytomegalovirus.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||MICROBIOLOGY and IMMUNOLOGY|
|Publication status||Published - 1998|
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