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Virology. 2007 Sep 15;366(1):185-96. Epub 2007 May 16.

Oral administration of live virus protects susceptible mice from developing Theiler's virus-induced demyelinating disease.

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Department of Microbiology-Immunology, Northwestern University Medical School, 303 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


Intracerebral infection of susceptible mouse strains with Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) results in an immune-mediated demyelinating disease similar to human multiple sclerosis. TMEV infection is widely spread via fecal-oral routes among wild mouse populations, yet these infected mice rarely develop clinical disease. Oral vaccination has often been used to protect the host against many different infectious agents, although the underlying protective mechanism of prior oral exposure is still unknown. To understand the mechanisms involved in protection from demyelinating disease following previous oral infection, immune parameters and disease progression of mice perorally infected with TMEV were compared with those of mice immunized intraperitoneally following intracerebral infection. Mice infected perorally, but not intraperitoneally, prior to CNS viral infection showed lower chronic viral persistence in the CNS and reduced TMEV-induced demyelinating disease. However, a prolonged period of post-oral infection was necessary for effective protection. Mice orally pre-exposed to the virus displayed markedly elevated levels of antibody response to TMEV in the serum, although T cell responses to TMEV in the periphery were not significantly different between perorally and intraperitoneally immunized mice. In addition, orally vaccinated mice showed higher levels of early CNS-infiltration of B cells producing anti-TMEV antibody as well as virus-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in the CNS compared to intraperitoneally immunized mice. Therefore, the generation of a sufficient level of protective immune responses appears to require a prolonged time period to confer protection from TMEV-induced demyelinating disease.

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