This study analyzed in vivo antiviral cellular immune reactions in the Shope rabbit papilloma-carcinoma model. Antigens studied in experimentally infected domestic rabbits were cottontail rabbit papillomavirus particles produced with the athymic (nu/nu) mouse xenograft system and bacterial fusion proteins containing the major or minor capsid protein. Recall reactions to antigens were tested by classic intracutaneous tests. Positive reactions had a biphasic course. Histopathology of skin test biopsy specimens showed infiltrating polymorphonuclear cells during the early stages. Later they were replaced by predominantly perivascular infiltrates composed of mononuclear cells. Time course of swelling and infiltrates resembled a delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction. Ten of 11 regressor rabbits (p = 0.00006) and 10 of 20 progressors (p = 0.009) had positive skin tests with intact and/or denaturated virus particles and individual capsid proteins also could elicit specific skin reactions. Skin reactivity to the cottontail rabbit papillomavirus particles was also greater (p = 0.042) in regressor rabbits (8 of 11) when compared to progressors (7 of 20). Recall reactions remained detectable at post-regression times, ranging from several months up to more than 2 years. We conclude that specific skin reactions against the cottontail rabbit papillomavirus in infected domestic rabbits exist, and are strongly positive to intact particles of this papillomavirus in animals (regressors) clinically free of disease.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology