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Clonal exhaustion as a result of immune deviation. (English) Zbl 1334.92234
Summary: An overwhelming virus infection that spreads within a few days throughout the host can cause deletion of the specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). This phenomenon is known as ‘clonal exhaustion’. Current explanations for this phenomenon are ‘clonal’, and consider either the terminal differentiation of the virus-specific CTL to an effector phenotype, or the lack of help and antigen presentation for a specific CTL clone. The virus remains controlled by some other form of immunity in the exhausted state. Candidates are innate immunity (especially NK cells and macrophages) and a T helper type 2 based immune response. Surprisingly, the role of this other form of immunity in causing exhaustion has been ignored so far. Developing a mathematical model, we here investigate the possibility that this inter-clonal immunity is responsible for exhaustion by down regulating the CTL response. The model is based on previously published exhaustion data for Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus as an in vivo model. We demonstrate that several complicated experiments on clonal exhaustion are consistent with inter-clonal regulation. By interpreting the available data with a mathematical model, we compare this novel mechanism with the mechanisms suggested previously.

92C60 Medical epidemiology
92C30 Physiology (general)
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