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Vacuolar degeneration in mice infected with a coronavirus JHM-CC strain

Vacuolar degeneration in mice infected with a coronavirus JHM-CC strain

Neurology 40(6): 904-910

Vacuolar degeneration was constantly induced in the CNS of 4-week-old ICR mice by intracerebral or intranasal inoculation of JHM-CC virus, a small plaque mutant of mouse hepatitis virus (JHM). Most animals showed no symptoms or only mild hindlimb paresis. Irrespective of clinical manifestations, the virus was isolated from the CNS up to days 14 to 16. Viral antigen expression in the CNS tissue was most extensive around days 5 to 7 and became undetectable on day 14. Viral antigens were localized almost exclusively to neurons, and the temporal sequence of viral antigen distribution after intranasal inoculation clearly indicated the virus spread through the olfactory and limbic systems into the brainstem and spinal cord, and possible cell-to cell transmission of the virus within the CNS. Vacuolar changes, most conspicuous in the brainstem and spinal cord, were steadily progressive up to 4 weeks after infection, but became indistinct by 4 months. Although the distribution of vacuolar lesions largely agreed with that of viral antigen-positive cells, the severity of vacuolation did not correlate with that of inflammation. Intramyelinic splitting, periaxonal edema, and swollen neurites were major ultrastructural substrates for vacuolar changes. This model could provide a better understanding of new types of neurologic disorders associated with viral infections, including vacuolar myelopathy in AIDS.

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Accession: 041932926

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PMID: 2161091

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