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Comp Med. 2003 Aug;53(4):439-43.

Confirmed persistent mouse hepatitis virus infection and transmission by mice with a targeted null mutation of tumor necrosis factor to sentinel mice, using short-term exposure.

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  • 1Division of Animal Resources, Emory University School of Medicine, 615 Michael Street, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.


Mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) infection in immunocompetent mice is typically self limiting, and transmission is short lived. With the recent surge in the development of genetically engineered mutant mice with alterations in immune system components, however, MHV clearance may be disrupted. We report confirmed persistent transmission of MHV from tumor necrosis factor (TNF) knockout mice, B6.129S1-Tnftm1Lj (TNF -/-), to nude and immunocompetent sentinel mice over a period of five months. Infection with MHV was confirmed in nude sentinel mice by use of reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) detection of viral RNA in ascending colon and feces. The RT-PCR-analyzed specimens recovered from sentinel animals were sequenced, and 92% homology to the N region of the MHV strain S genome was documented. In addition, immunocompetent mice had evidence of seroconversion to MHV infection and RT-PCR-positive fecal and ascending colon specimens after only 24 h of direct contact with the TNF -/- mice. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first reported experimental evidence that MHV transmission can occur for several months, from persistently infected mice to sentinel mice, over a short-term exposure period.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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