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J Neurovirol. 2007 Oct;13(5):399-409.

Detection of mouse-adapted human influenza virus in the olfactory bulbs of mice within hours after intranasal infection.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary and Comparative Anatomy, Pharmacology and Physiology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164, USA.


Influenza pneumonitis causes severe systemic symptoms in mice, including hypothermia and excess sleep. The association of extrapulmonary virus, particularly virus in the brain, with the onset of such disease symptoms has not been investigated. Mature C57BL/6 male mice were infected intranasally with mouse-adapted human influenza viruses (PR8 or X-31) under inhalation, systemic, or no anesthesia. Core body temperatures were monitored continuously by radiotelemetry, and tissues (lung, brain, olfactory bulb, spleen, blood) were harvested at the time of onset of hypothermia (13 to 24 h post infection [PI]) or at 4 or 7 h PI. Whole RNA from all tissues was examined by one or more of three reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) procedures using H1N1 nucleoprotein (NP) primers for minus polarity RNA (genomic or vRNA) or plus polarity RNA (replication intermediates). Selected cytokines were assayed at 4, 7, and 15 h in the olfactory bulb (OB). Minus and plus RNA strands were readily detected in OBs as early as 4 h PI by nested RT-PCR. Anesthesia was not required for viral invasion of the OB. Cytokine mRNAs were also significantly elevated in the OB at 7 and 15 h PI in infected mice. Controls receiving boiled virus expressed only input vRNA and that only in lung. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated localization of H1N1 and NP antigens in olfactory nerves and the glomerular layer of the OB. Therefore a mouse-adapted human influenza virus strain, not known to be neurotropic, was detected in the mouse OB within 4 h PI where it appeared to induce replication intermediates and cytokines.

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