The mechanisms responsible for degeneration of germinal centers (GC) and follicular dendritic cell (FDC) networks during progression to AIDS remain elusive. Here, we show that CD4+ T cells from CD4C/HIV-1 Tg mice, which develop a severe AIDS-like disease, express low levels of CD40 ligand. Accordingly, GC formation, FDC networks, and immunoglobulin isotype switching are impaired in these animals. However, Tg B cells respond to in vitro CD40 stimulation. Total serum IgG levels are reduced in Tg mice, whereas total IgM levels are increased with a significant amount showing DNA specificity. IFN-γ- and IL-6-deficient CD4C/HIV Tg mice also develop the AIDS-like disease and produce auto-Ab. Thus, CD4C/HIV Tg mice have immune dysfunction accompanied by autoimmune responses.
Poudrier, J., Weng, X., Kay, D. G., Paré, G., Calvo, E. L., Hanna, Z., … Jolicoeur, P. (2001). The AIDS disease of CD4C/HIV transgenic mice shows impaired germinal centers and autoantibodies and develops in the absence of IFN-γ and IL-6. Immunity, 15(2), 173–185. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1074-7613(01)00177-7