Pathogenesis of a model gammaherpesvirus in a natural host

David J. Hughes, Anja Kipar, Jeffery T. Sample, James P. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV-68) infection of laboratory mice (Mus musculus) is an established model of gammaherpesvirus pathogenesis. The fact that M. musculus is not a host in the wild prompted us to reassess MHV-68 infection in wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus), a natural host. Here, we report significant differences in MHV-68 infection in the two species: (i) following intranasal inoculation, MHV-68 replicated in the lungs of wood mice to levels approximately 3 log units lower than in BALB/c mice; (ii) in BALB/c mice, virus replication in alveolar epithelial cells was accompanied by a diffuse, T-cell-dominated interstitial pneumonitis, whereas in wood mice it was restricted to focal granulomatous infiltrations; (iii) within wood mice, latently infected lymphocytes were abundant in inducible bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue that was not apparent in BALB/c mice; (iv) splenic latency was established in both species, but well-delineated secondary follicles with germinal centers were present in wood mice, while only poorly delineated follicles were seen in BALB/c mice; and, perhaps as a consequence, (v) production of neutralizing antibody was significantly higher in wood mice. These differences highlight the value of this animal model in the study of MHV-68 pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3949-3961
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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