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Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis. 2004 Nov;27(6):445-55.

Involvement of apoptosis in syncytial cell death induced by canine distemper virus.

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  • 1Laboratory of Animal Research Center, Institution of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Shirokanedai Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan.


The Yanaka strain, a field isolate of Canine distemper virus (CDV), caused extensive syncytial cytopathic effects (CPEs) followed by cell death in vitro. Syncytium formation is an important aspect of CDV pathogenicity, but the mechanism of the fusion-induced cell death is still not understood. In this study, the involvement of apoptosis in the CDV-induced CPE was investigated. We also examined apoptosis in cells infected with a persistent strain of CDV, the Yanaka-BP strain derived from the Yanaka strain, because this strain does not cause obvious CPE. DNA laddering together with Terminal transferase dUTP nick endlabeling (TUNEL) assay indicated that the Yanaka strain infection, but not the Yanaka-BP infection induced apoptosis. In addition, flow cytometric analysis similarly indicated that the Yanaka-BP strain induced apoptosis significantly less frequently than the Yanaka strain did. Thus, absence of apoptosis may be implicated in the CPE and establishment of persistent CDV infection.

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