The cell-mediated immune response of C57BL/6 mice to murine sarcoma virus (MSV) was examined by the [125I]-iododeoxyuridine release cytotoxicity assay using MSV-induced sarcoma tissue culture cell lines as target cells. Cellular cytotoxicity was detected as early as 3 days after virus inoculation. Most mice assayed between 12 and 17 days after MSV inoculation gave positive results with maximum levels of activity present on Days 13 and 14. Reactivity was frequently detected for up to 100 days after MSV inoculation, although at low levels (5 to 10%). Additional experiments comparing the kinetics of the cellular response as measured by different in vitro cytotoxicity assays were performed. The results showed a good direct correlation between the [125I]iododeoxyuridine release assay and a 51Cr release assay. A similar pattern of reactivity was also observed when the cellular response was measured by a visual microcytotoxicity assay, although reactivity dropped off more rapidly and became undetectable in most instances by 20 days after injection of MSV. Studies on effector cell type revealed that cytotoxicity in all three assays was T-cell dependent, being eliminated by treatment with anti-θ plus complement. Macrophages did not appear to play a role, since treatment with carbonyliron and magnet had no effect.

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