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Virology. 1999 Dec 20;265(2):365-74.

Naturally occurring, nonregressing canine oral papillomavirus infection: host immunity, virus characterization, and experimental infection.

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Department of Pathology and Infectious Diseases, Royal Veterinary College, Hatfield, Herts, AL9 7TA, United Kingdom.


Papillomaviruses occasionally cause severe, nonregressing or recurrent infections in their human and animal hosts. The mechanisms underlying these atypical infections are not known. Canine oral papillomavirus (COPV) typically regresses spontaneously and is an important model of mucosal human papillomavirus infections. A severe, naturally occurring, nonregressing COPV infection provided an opportunity to investigate some aspects of viral pathogenicity and host immunity. In this case, the papillomas proved refractory to surgical and medical treatments, including autogenous vaccination and vaccination with capsid (L1) virus-like particles. High levels of induced anti-L1 antibodies appeared to have no effect on the infection. The papillomas spread to oesophageal mucosa, perioral haired skin, and remote cutaneous sites. Isolation of COPV from the animal and sequencing of several regions of the viral genome showed no differences to the COPV prototype. Experimental infection of beagle dogs with this viral isolate resulted in the uncomplicated development and regression of oral warts within the usual period, indicating that the virus was not an unusual pathogenic variant. These findings support the hypothesis that the recurrent lesions seen in some human papillomavirus infections, such as recurrent laryngeal papillomatosis, are associated with specific defects in host immunity rather than variations in viral pathogenicity.

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