Send to

Choose Destination
Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2012 Dec 15;150(3-4):181-8. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2012.09.038. Epub 2012 Oct 2.

Early inflammatory response of young rabbits attending natural resistance to calicivirus (RHDV) infection.

Author information

Department of Anatomy, ICBAS Abel Salazar Institute for Biomedical Science and Unit for Multidisciplinary Biomedical Research, University of Porto, Rua de Jorge Viterbo Ferreira n.° 228, 4050-313, Portugal.


Young rabbits (i.e. up to 4 weeks of age) are naturally resistant to infection by rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV), the same calicivirus that kills more than 90% of adult rabbits in 3 days or less. To characterize this fascinating model of age-related natural resistance to viral infection, we have studied the kinetics (from 6h up to 7 days) of cytokines and of leukocyte subpopulations in the liver (the target organ for calicivirus replication) and spleen (host systemic response) of RHDV infected young rabbits. Infection was associated with early (6h) elevation of proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1, IFN-α, IFN-γ, IL-6, IL-8). We found that all three major leukocyte subpopulations (macrophages, B and T lymphocytes) were increased in the liver 48h after the RHDV inoculation. At 7 days of infection, B and T lymphocytes were still elevated in the liver of the rabbits. In the spleen, both macrophages and B lymphocytes (but not T cells) were also enhanced. At 7 days, anti-RHDV specific antibodies were present in sera of all young rabbits infected by the virus. We conclude that natural resistance of young rabbits to RHDV infection is associated with a rapid and effective inflammatory response by the liver, with few hepatocytes being infected, and also with a sustained elevation in local and systemic B and T cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center