CD95 (Fas)/CD95 ligand (CD95 L)-mediated apoptosis is thought to be involved in the delayed progression of murine AIDS (MAIDS) induced by LP-BM5 murine leukemia virus (MuLV). We show evidence of apoptosis in lymphocytes of Peyer's patches (PP) at the early stage of MAIDS. Both T and B cells in PP expressed CD95 at the early stage of MAIDS and decreased in number thereafter. The decrease in T cells was not evident in CD95-mutated lpr mice with MAIDS, suggesting that CD95/CD95 L interaction is involved in the apoptosis of T cells in PP during the course of MAIDS. On the other hand, the number of B cells was also decreased in PP of lpr mice with MAIDS. The proliferative ability of B cells in PP of MAIDS mice in response to immunoglobulin M cross-linking or lipopolysaccharide was severely impaired, while the B cells normally proliferated in response to anti-CD40 monoclonal antibody. These findings imply that aberrantly activated B cells in PP undergo apoptosis independently of the CD95/CD95 L system during the course of infection with MAIDS virus.
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