Murine Leukemia: A Virus-Induced Autoimmune Disease?

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Science  23 Nov 1973:
Vol. 182, Issue 4114, pp. 821-823
DOI: 10.1126/science.182.4114.821


Thymocytes from mice carrying Moloney murine leukemia virus since birth are cytotoxic for normal syngeneic fibroblasts; they are much less cytotoxic for the same cells infected with this virus. The cytotoxic thymocytes appear to increase in number with age of the carrier mice and are present both during preleukemic and leukemic periods. These results suggest that lymphomas in carrier mice result from a sequence of events initiated by intrathymic destruction of normal cells by virus-infected cells, and culminating in the unrestricted proliferation of autoaggressive clones in the thymic cortex.