Comparison of the sensitivity of in vivo and in vitro assays for detection of antiviral cytotoxic T cell activity.
Castelmur I., DiPaolo C., Bachmann MF., Hengartner H., Zinkernagel RM., Kündig TM.
Sensitivities of in vitro and in vivo assays for the detection of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)-specific CTL were compared. Measurement of primary cytotoxicity was the least sensitive of all the tested assays. However, when the same 51Cr release assays were performed after in vitro restimulation, this in vitro method was found to be more sensitive than all of the five in vivo assays tested. Assessment of CTL-mediated protection against LCMV replication in spleens was most sensitive among the in vivo tests, followed by CTL-mediated resistance to intracerebral or intraperitoneal challenge infections with vaccinia-LCMV-recombinant virus. Inhibition of LCMV-induced choriomeningitis and of the footpad swelling reaction were least sensitive in detecting LCMV-specific CTL. As discussed, the presented sensitivity gradient may most probably be generalized.