- The infection of mice with lactic dehydrogenase virus (LDV) is characterized by elevated levels of various plasma enzymes such as lactic dehydrogenase, malic dehydrogenase, and others. This elevation is probably the consequence of a defect in the clearance capacity of the virus-affected reticuloendothelial cells, which were found to serve as the targets for LDV infection. Since macrophages play a pivotal role in the induction and regulation of cellular immune responses, we tested the antigen-presenting capacity of macrophages from LDV-infected mice, using a system in which in vitro reactivation of memory T cells depends on specific antigen presentation by macrophages. Our experiments revealed that the antigen-presenting capacity of spleen, lymph node, and peritoneal antigen-presenting macrophages from LDV-infected mice was impaired. This impairment, however, was not due to a defective cellular concentration capacity of antigen, since no difference in the uptake of radiolabeled antigen by uninfected and acutely LDV-infected macrophages was observed. Similarly one cannot attribute the impaired presentation capacity to suppressor cells, since we found that LDV-infected macrophages are not differentially immunosuppressive in the specific in vitro assays used. The analysis of peritoneal macrophages for their expression of Ia antigens revealed that the proportion of Ia-positive macrophages among the LDV-infected peritoneal cells is reduced in comparison to their proportion in noninfected mice. Our results suggest, therefore, that infection of macrophages by LDV is followed by an impairment of their antigen-presenting capacity, probably due to a reduction in the relative proportion of Ia-positive macrophages. These results indicate that the virus either impairs the expression of membrane-associated antigen-presenting components (such as the Ia determinants), thus damaging antigen presentation, or is responsible for the elimination of Ia-positive cells from the peritoneum.