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Infection of type I interferon receptor-deficient mice with various old world arenaviruses: a model for studying virulence and host species barriers

Published inPloS one, vol. 8, no. 8, e72290
Publication date2013
Abstract

Lassa virus causes hemorrhagic Lassa fever in humans, while the related Old World arenaviruses Mopeia, Morogoro, and Mobala are supposedly apathogenic to humans and cause only inapparent infection in non-human primates. Here, we studied whether the virulence of Old World arenaviruses in humans and non-human primates is reflected in type I interferon receptor deficient (IFNAR(-/-)) mice by testing several strains of Lassa virus vs. the apathogenic viruses Mopeia, Morogoro, and Mobala. All Lassa virus strains tested-Josiah, AV, BA366, and Nig04-10-replicated to high titers in blood, lung, kidney, heart, spleen, brain, and liver and caused disease as evidenced by weight loss and elevation of aspartate and alanine aminotransferase (AST and ALT) levels with a high AST/ALT ratio. Lassa fever-like pathology included acute hepatitis, interstitial pneumonia, and pronounced disturbance of splenic cytoarchitecture. Infiltrations of activated monocytes/macrophages expressing inducible nitric oxide synthase and T cells were found in liver and lung. In contrast, Mopeia, Morogoro, and Mobala virus replicated poorly in the animals and acute inflammatory alterations were not noted. Depletion of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells strongly enhanced susceptibility of IFNAR(-/-) mice to the apathogenic viruses. In conclusion, the virulence of Old World arenaviruses in IFNAR(-/-) mice correlates with their virulence in humans and non-human primates. In addition to the type I interferon system, T cells seem to regulate whether or not an arenavirus can productively infect non-host rodent species. The observation that Lassa virus overcomes the species barrier without artificial depletion of T cells suggests it is able to impair T cell functionality in a way that corresponds to depletion.

Citation (ISO format)
RIEGER, Toni, MERKLER, Doron, GÜNTHER, Stephan. Infection of type I interferon receptor-deficient mice with various old world arenaviruses: a model for studying virulence and host species barriers. In: PloS one, 2013, vol. 8, n° 8, p. e72290. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072290
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ISSN of the journal1932-6203
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