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J Virol. 1991 Apr;65(4):1673-9.

Woodchuck hepatitis virus is a more efficient oncogenic agent than ground squirrel hepatitis virus in a common host.

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Department of Microbiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853.


Chronic infection with hepatitis B viruses (hepadnaviruses) is a major cause of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but the incubation time varies from 1 to 2 years to several decades in different host species infected with indigenous viruses. To discern the influence of viral and host factors on the kinetics of induction of HCC, we exploited the recent observation that ground squirrel hepatitis virus (GSHV) is infectious in woodchucks (C. Seeger, P. L. Marion, D. Ganem, and H. E. Varmus, J. Virol. 61:3241-3247, 1987) to compare the pathogenic potential of GSHV and woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV) in chronically infected woodchucks. Chronic GSHV infection in woodchucks produces mild to moderate portal hepatitis, similar to that observed in woodchucks chronically infected with WHV. However, HCC developed in GSHV carriers about 18 months later than in WHV carriers. Thus, although both viruses are oncogenic in woodchucks, GSHV and WHV differ in oncogenic determinants that can affect the kinetics of appearance of HCC in chronically infected animals.

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