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Virus Res. 1990 Jun;16(2):153-62.

Detection of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infected cells by in situ hybridization in the lungs of cotton rats immunized with formalin-inactivated virus or purified RSV F and G glycoprotein subunit vaccine and challenged with RSV.

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Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 21205.


The replication of RSV in unimmunized cotton rats was evaluated by quantitating the amount of infectious virus in the lung and the number of RSV infected cells in a histopathological section of lung by in situ hybridization. RSV infected cells were detected only in alveoli and bronchioles and constituted only a small minority of the cell population. The temporal patterns of rise to the peak number of infected cells (day 4) and the peak titer of infectious virus (day 3) were similar. The clearance of both infected cells and infectious virus was nearly complete by day 7. In animals previously immunized with purified RSV glycoproteins or formalin-inactivated RSV there also was a good correlation between the number of infected cells detected by in situ hybridization and the amount of infectious virus recovered. It was previously demonstrated that cotton rats immunized with formalin-inactivated vaccine developed enhanced pulmonary histopathology following challenge with RSV. In such animals, there was approximately a 90% reduction in the number of infected cells compared to control unimmunized, RSV-challenged animals. Formalin-inactivated RSV vaccine-enhanced lung histopathology developed despite the effective elimination of virus and virus-infected cells suggesting that the enhanced pathology is the result of an exaggeration of normal immune mechanisms involved in clearance of virus infection, an aberrant immune response during infection, or both.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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