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Virology. 1983 Dec;131(2):375-84.

Experimental transmission of duck hepatitis B virus.


Susceptibility to experimental infection with duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) was explored, with the objective of defining procedures that were both rapid and reproducible. For the purpose of these experiments, a small flock of DHBV-free breeders was established as a source of susceptible eggs and ducklings, since ca. 10% of the ducks (all ages) from commercial flocks were DHBV infected. Intravenous inoculation of DHBV into 15-day duck embryos from the DHBV-free flock produced a persistent infection, with a high-titer viremia, in at least 80% of the injected animals. The tissue tropism of DHBV in these experimentally infected animals was similar to that associated with natural, congenital infections from viremic ducks to their progeny. Virus antigen was found not only in hepatocytes and bile duct epithelium of liver, but also in cells associated with exocrine and endocrine pancreas, and in proximal convoluted tubular epithelium of kidney. Infection of embryonic liver was rapid, as evidenced by active synthesis of DHBV-DNA by reverse-transcription of RNA by 24 hr postinjection. During this latter analysis, formation of supercoiled viral DNA appeared to precede the reverse-transcription phase of viral DNA synthesis, suggesting that this species may be important in initiation of infection.

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