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J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1990 Sep;49(5):498-508.

The sequence of changes in liver and brain in the influenza B virus mouse model of Reye's syndrome.

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  • 1Research Service, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Albuquerque, NM.


The time course of morphologic changes in the influenza B mouse model of Reye's syndrome is described and compared to the clinical, virologic, and biochemical changes. Following an intravenous inoculation of a lethal dose of an egg adapted strain of influenza B/Lee/40 virus, mice first showed clinical signs of lethargy and ruffled fur at 12 hours (h) post inoculation (pi). The earliest morphologic changes in the liver occurred at 12 h pi, and consisted of a slight increase in fat and loss of glycogen in hepatocytes. Over the next 36 h, the accumulation of microvesicular fat increased, and mitochondrial abnormalities such as pleomorphism and loss of dense bodies developed. There was no increase in peroxisomes. In the brain, focal cerebral edema was detected as early at 6-12 h pi. The edema, manifested as swelling of astrocytic foot processes, increased in severity with time. Endothelial cells were not abnormal. Myelin sheath splitting rarely was observed. Since changes occurred simultaneously in the liver and in the brain, we suggest that influenza B virus caused a simultaneous primary insult to both organs.

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