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Prevention of retrovirus-induced neurological disease by infection with a nonneuropathogenic retrovirus

Prevention of retrovirus-induced neurological disease by infection with a nonneuropathogenic retrovirus

Virology 206(1): 372-380

Perinatal infection of susceptible mice with the neurotropic retrovirus CasBrE leads to a noninflammatory spongiform degeneration of the central nervous system with a long incubation period of up to 1 year. Virus replication in infected animals can be suppressed by administration of antiviral antibodies, cytotoxic T cells, or by AZT treatment, which results in partial to complete protection from neurological disease. A highly neuropathogenic chimeric retrovirus, FrCas-E, which contains the envelope gene of CasBrE, induces rapid neurodegeneration within only 16 days. Here we report that this fatal disease could be prevented if a nonneuropathogenic Friend murine leukemia virus was administered to mice prior to their infection with FrCas-E. This double inoculation led to a substantial reduction of the replication level of FrCas-E in spleen and CNS. Only live but not heat-inactivated nonneuropathogenic virus was able to protect from FrCa-E-induced neurological disease. The extent of protection was influenced by the viral envelope gene and the kinetics of replication of the nonneuropathogenic virus. These observations in addition to the rapidity of the effect make it likely that competition for replication sites through the mechanism of viral interference is responsible for the protection. Resistance was demonstrable in vivo even when the "protecting" and "challenge" virus belonged to different in vitro interference groups. However, the protection was considerably weaker than that seen between viruses belonging to the same interference group.

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Accession: 009242864

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PMID: 7831792

DOI: 10.1016/s0042-6822(95)80052-2

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