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Vet Microbiol. 2012 Mar 23;155(2-4):137-46. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2011.08.027. Epub 2011 Sep 3.

Visna/Maedi virus genetic characterization and serological diagnosis of infection in sheep from a neurological outbreak.

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  • 1Instituto de Agrobiotecnología (CSIC-UPNA-Gobierno de Navarra), 31192 Navarra, Spain.


An extensive outbreak characterized by the appearance of neurological symptoms in small ruminant lentivirus (SRLV) infected sheep has been identified in Spain, but the genetic characteristics of the strain involved and differential diagnostic tools for this outbreak remain unexplored. In this work, 23 Visna-affected naturally infected animals from the outbreak, 11 arthritic animals (both groups presenting anti-Visna/Maedi virus serum antibodies), and 100 seronegative animals were used. Eight of the Visna-affected animals were further studied post-mortem by immunohistochemistry. All had lesions in spinal cord, being the most affected part of the central nervous system in six of them. A representative strain of the outbreak was isolated. Together with other proviral sequences from the outbreak the virus was assigned to genotype A2/A3. In vitro culture of the isolate revealed that viral production was slow/low in fibroblast-like cells but it was high in blood monocyte-derived macrophages. The long terminal repeat (LTR) of the viral genome of this isolate lacked an U3-duplication, but its promoter activity in fibroblast-like cells was normal compared to other strains. Thus, viral production could not be inferred from the LTR promoter activity in this isolate. Analysis of the viral immunodominant epitopes among SRLV sequences of the outbreak and other known sequences allowed the design of a synthetic SU peptide ELISA that detected the Visna affected animals, representing a tool of epidemiological interest to control viral spread of this highly pathogenic strain.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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