Acute, lethal, natural killer cell-resistant myeloproliferative disease induced by polyomavirus in severe combined immunodeficient mice

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pathology

Publication Date


Document Type



Acute Disease; Animals; DNA, Viral; Female; Histocompatibility Antigens; Killer Cells, Natural; Male; Mice; Mice, Inbred C57BL; Mice, SCID; Myeloproliferative Disorders; *Polyomavirus; Polyomavirus Infections; Severe Combined Immunodeficiency; Tumor Virus Infections


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Infection of severe combined immunodeficient mice, which lack T and B lymphocytes, with polyomavirus (PyV) induced an acute hematological disorder leading to the death of the mice by 2 weeks postinfection. The disease was characterized by a dramatic decrease in megakaryocytes, multiple hemorrhages, anemia, thrombocytopenia, splenomegaly, a massive myeloproliferation and splenic erythroproliferation with a defect in maturation of the myeloid elements similar to that in acute leukemia. This pathology in severe combined immunodeficient mice is very different from that of the well-characterized tumor profiles induced by PyV in normal newborn or nude mice. Viral T and capsid (VP1) antigens and viral genome were detected in some cells in the spleen, but not in the majority of the proliferating myeloid cells. This suggests that the myeloproliferation is induced by some indirect mechanism, such as secretion of growth factors or cytokines by virus-infected cells, rather than by direct transformation by PyV. Neither the spread of PyV, its replication in different organs, nor the pathogenesis or the time of death were altered by depleting natural killer cells in vivo by anti-natural killer cell antibodies. Analysis of the spleen leukocyte population indicated that the cells expressed high levels of class I major histocompatibility complex antigens and were resistant to lysis by activated natural killer cells.


Am J Pathol. 1994 Feb;144(2):359-71.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The American journal of pathology

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Link to article in PubMed

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