Abstract

Cell-mediated and humoral immune responses against antigens associated with primate C-type oncoviruses were evaluated in humans by microcytotoxicity and radioimmunoprecipitation assays. Five of six women tested sequentially during pregnancy developed selective cell-mediated reactivity against baboon endogenous virus (BEV)--infected human fibroblasts. Responsiveness peaked during the second and third trimesters and corresponded temporally with elevated antibody levels to BEV antigens. Similar cell-mediated reactivity was not observed in nonpregnant individuals. Selective cell-mediated reactivity directed against cells infected with the simian sarcoma virus-simian sarcoma associated virus complex (SSV--SSAV) was observed in four of 20 healthy adults (three of 14 nonpregnant, one of six pregnant). These observations suggest that cell-mediated reactivity against primate C-type oncoviruses is occasionally detected in healthy nonpregnant adults, but that during pregnancy both cell-mediated and humoral reactivity against BEV may become selectively expressed.