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MHC matching shows that at least two T-cell subsets determine resistance to HSV

Naturevolume 277pages6768 (1979) | Download Citation


  • An Erratum to this article was published on 08 February 1979


DISTINCT T-cell subsets recognise antigens in association with different major histocompatibility complex (MHC) products, and this provides a means of identifying the subsets which operate in protective immunity against pathogens. Thus, cytotoxic T cells (Tc) recognise antigen in association with products of the K and D regions of the H–2 complex of the mouse; and because protection against lymphocytic choriomeningitis1, ectromelia2 and influenza3 requires compatibility at K or D in adoptive transfer experiments, it follows that the subset mediates protective immunity against these viruses. I-region compatibility requirements have not hitherto been observed in viral infections, but are necessary for protection against the intracellular parasite Listeria monocytogenes. This suggests that T helper cells (TH) and/or the lymphocytes responsible for delayed hypersensitivity and lymphokine release may be involved4 (these lymphocytes can provisionally be included within the TH subset). Adoptive transfer studies in mice have clearly established a major role for T lymphocytes in recovery from infection with herpes simplex virus (HSV-1)5–7. The T-lymphocyte subclass or classes responsible for this protection are not known. In vitro cytotoxic T cells (Tc)8, and their primed precursors9 can be obtained from HSV-1 infected mice. The present study indicates that immune protection against HSV-1 can be conferred by immune spleen cells possessing either I or K-D compatibility, and that long-lasting protection is conferred only by cells with I-region compatibility.

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    Present address: Department of Pathology, San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California, 94110


    Present address: Department of Immunology, National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London, NW7, UK


  1. ICRF Tumour Immunology Unit, Department of Zoology, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1, UK

  2. Division of Transplantation Biology, Clinical Research Centre, Watford Road, Harrow, Middlesex, UK



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