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Virology. 2001 Dec 5;291(1):55-67.

Persistent infection of B lymphocytes by bovine respiratory syncytial virus.

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UMR INRA-ENVT Physiopathologie infectieuse et parasitaire des ruminants, ENVT, 23 chemin des Capelles, Toulouse Cedex 3, 31076, France.


Bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) is a major cause of respiratory disease in young cattle. Here we demonstrate BRSV persistence at low levels in tracheobronchial and mediastinal lymph nodes up to 71 days after the experimental infection of calves. Positive results were obtained on viral genomic RNA and messenger RNA coding for the nucleoprotein, glycoprotein (G), and fusion protein (F). G and F proteins were also detected in the pulmonary lymph nodes by immunohistochemistry. Double-staining experiments revealed that viral antigen was present in B-lymphocytes. Coculture experiments with the lymph node cells showed that the virus was still able to infect permissive target cells, even though no cytopathic effect was recorded. In vitro studies indicate that BRSV was still able to replicate in bovine B-lymphocyte cell lines 6 months after infection. These results may also be relevant to the understanding not only of the epidemiology and the peculiarities of the immune response of BRSV infections but also of human respiratory syncytial virus infections.

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