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Vet Microbiol. 1989 Dec;21(2):97-114.

Experimental infection of bulls with a genital isolate of bovine herpesvirus-4 and reactivation of latent virus with dexamethasone.

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Department of Virology-Immunology, Institut de Chimie, Li├Ęge, Belgium.


Five 13- to 18-month old Belgian Blue bulls were used in this experiment. Four bulls (Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5) were inoculated intratesticularly with 10(5) plaque-forming units of bovine herpesvirus-4 (BHV-4) in each testicle (Day 0). The challenge BHV-4 strain was previously isolated from testicle cells of a bull exhibiting orchitis and azoospermia. The fifth bull (No. 1) was used as a control and received the same volume of uninfected cell culture supernatant. For 5 days, beginning on Day 51 post-infection, two bulls (Nos. 4 and 5) and the control bull (No. 1) received 0.1 mg kg-1 of dexamethasone. Unilateral castrations were then performed at regular intervals for viral examination. Treatment with dexamethasone reactivated latent BHV-4, but no clinical signs were observed in treated bulls until the end of the experiment (Day 93). Only Bull 3 showed conjunctivitis and temporary azoospermia. The virus was recovered from various samples showing that: (i) BHV-4 can be present in a latent state in the testicles and mononuclear blood cells; (ii) dexamethasone reactivates the virus; (iii) the virus is excreted by nasal and ocular routes. Each infected bull seroconverted and a booster antibody response appeared after dexamethasone treatment as shown by immunofluorescence. Neutralizing antibodies were detected in each bull by complement-dependent neutralization test with titres higher than those obtained by a classical neutralization test. No booster response of neutralizing antibodies was observed after dexamethasone treatment. The antigenically relevant envelope BHV-4 proteins were identified by Western blotting using sera samples from the animals. DNA restriction endonuclease profiles of viruses reisolated after primary infection and reactivation showed only small differences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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