Alloreactive cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) distinct from virus-specific CTL and activated natural killer (NK) cells were generated during acute lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection of C57BL/6J mice. The alloreactive CTL shared similar antigenic markers (Thy-1.2+, Lyt-2.2+, and asialo GM1-) with the virus-specific CTL that appeared at the same time 7 days postinfection, but had different target specificities. These alloreactive CTL lysed allogeneic but not syngeneic or xenogeneic targets. These were distinct from activated NK cells, which lysed all target cell types, peaked 3 days postinfection, and had a phenotype of asialo GM1+, Thy-1 +/-, Lyt-2.2-. Cold target competition studies indicated that there were several subsets of alloreactive T cells with distinct specificities, and that these alloreactive T cells were not subsets of the virus-specific T cells. Similar types of alloreactive CTL were induced at much lower levels in C3H/St mice. This may indicate that the generation of this "aberrant" T cell activity is under genetic control. Hence, the LCMV infection of C57BL/6J mice induces several cytotoxic effector populations including alloreactive CTL, activated NK cells, and virus-specific CTL. Virus infections therefore have the ability not only to polyclonally stimulate B cells, as previously described, but also to stimulate CTL.
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