Lymphoid cell necrosis, thymic atrophy, and growth retardation in newborn mice inoculated with murine cytomegalovirus.
During studies on the effect of murine cytomegalovirus on the developing retina, virus was inoculated into the eyes of newborn Swiss mice, and the animals were sacrificed at various times thereafter. Controls consisted of mice inoculated with ultraviolet-inactivated murine cytomegalovirus and uninjected mice. Marked lymphoid cell necrosis, thymic atrophy, pronounced growth retardation, bacteremia, and death occurred in the animals inoculated with live virus. this virus-induced injury resulted in a marked depletion of lymphocytes in the subcapsular and cortical areas of the thymus as well as in the spleen, lymph nodes, and Peyer's patches. Areas of necrosis with viral inclusions were present at the site of inoculation and in various other organs including the spleen and bone marrow. Since growth retardation has been associated with thymic atrophy due to other causes, the observed abnormal physical development in the present study was interpreted as a sequel to the thymic injury. An implication of this study is that some human infants with concomitant immune deficiency and viral infection may have a primary viral disease with resultant secondary lymphoid tissue alterations, rather than a thymic disorder with a subsequent viral infection.
Schwartz, JN; Daniels, CA; Klintworth, GK
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