Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) is a frequently used animal model to study immune responses against acute and chronic viral infections. LCMV is a non-cytopathic virus, but destruction of infected cells by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) can lead to severe damage of tissues. Virus-specific T cell responses have to be balanced. A low virus load leads to a strong T cell response and subsequently to viral control. In contrast, a high viral titer is associated with T cell exhaustion and chronic viral infections. During an intermediate LCMV viral load CD8+ T cells can cause immunopathology, which can have detrimental outcomes. The LCMV infection model offers the opportunity to study virus-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses during chronic and acute infections by quantifying LCMV-specific T cells by tetramer staining and measuring cytokine production and viral titers in different organs.
- acute viral infection
- chronic viral infection
- Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus
- T cell