Rapid expansion of virus-specific CD4+ T cell types in the CNS of susceptible mice infected with theiler’s virus

Hyun Seok Kang, Wanqiu Hou, Byung S. Kim*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The infection of susceptible mice with Theiler’s murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) induces a T cell-mediated demyelinating disease. This system has been studied as a relevant infection model for multiple sclerosis (MS). Therefore, defining the type of T cell responses and their functions is critically important for understanding the relevant pathogenic mechanisms. In this study, we adoptively transferred naive VP2-specific TCR-Tg CD4+ T cells into syngeneic susceptible SJL mice and monitored the development of the disease and the activation and proliferation of CD4+ T cells during the early stages of viral infection. The preexisting VP2-specific naive CD4+ T cells promoted the pathogenesis of the disease in a dose-dependent manner. The transferred VP2-specific CD4+ T cells proliferated rapidly in the CNS starting at 2–3 dpi. High levels of FoxP3+CD4+ T cells were found in the CNS early in viral infection (3 dpi) and persisted throughout the infection. Activated VP2-specific FoxP3+CD4+ T cells inhibited the production of IFN-γ, but not IL-17, via the same VP2-specific CD4+ T cells without interfering in proliferation. Thus, the early presence of regulatory T cells in the CNS with viral infection may favor the induction of pathogenic Th17 cells over protective Th1 cells in susceptible mice, thereby establishing the pathogenesis of virus-induced demyelinating disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7719
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2 2020


  • Demyelination
  • FoxP3CD4 T cells
  • Inflammation
  • Th cells
  • Virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Catalysis
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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