Rotavirus is an acute enteric pathogen which induces severe diarrhea in infants and children. To determine the immune response to rotavirus in vivo, we used a mouse model of rotavirus infection. We observed dramatic increases in the sizes of both Peyer's patches and mesenteric lymph nodes, but not spleen, between 1 and 6 days after infection with a homologous strain of murine rotavirus, EC wild type. Histological analysis showed large increases in the numbers of lymphocytes in these same tissues in rotavirus-infected mice. Flow cytometric analysis confirmed the increase in numbers of lymphocytes and revealed a large increase in the percentage of activated B, but not T, lymphocytes in both Peyer's patches and mesenteric lymph nodes of rotavirus-infected mice compared with control mice. Fragment cultures from these tissues established at 3-4 days postinfection contain rotavirus-specific IgM but not IgA Ab. A similar degree of lymphoid hyperplasia and percentage of activated B cells were observed in rotavirus-infected TCR knockout mice. Taken together, our findings show that rotavirus infection, in the context of a normal immune response, induces a large increase in the percentages of activated B cells in the absence of any detectable increase in the percentage of activated T cells, implicating a T cell-independent B cell response as the primary mechanism for initial rotavirus clearance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy