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Virol J. 2019 Jun 7;16(1):77. doi: 10.1186/s12985-019-1171-3.

The tree shrew is a promising model for the study of influenza B virus infection.

Author information

1
Department of Respiration, the First People's Hospital of Yunnan Province, Kunming, Yunnan, 650032, People's Republic of China.
2
The Affiliated Hospital of Kunming University of Science and Technology, Kunming, Yunnan, 650032, People's Republic of China.
3
State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease, National Clinical Research Center for Respiratory Disease, Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Health, the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510120, People's Republic of China.
4
Faculty of Life Science and Technology, Kunming University of Science And Technology, Kunming, Yunnan, 650500, People's Republic of China.
5
Medical Faculty, Kunming University of Science And Technology, Kunming, Yunnan, 650500, People's Republic of China.
6
State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease, National Clinical Research Center for Respiratory Disease, Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Health, the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510120, People's Republic of China. jeffyah@163.com.
7
State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Macau University of Science and Technology, Avenida Wai Long, Taipa, Macau, People's Republic of China. jeffyah@163.com.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Influenza B virus is a main causative pathogen of annual influenza epidemics, however, research on influenza B virus in general lags behind that on influenza A viruses, one of the important reasons is studies on influenza B viruses in animal models are limited. Here we investigated the tree shrew as a potential model for influenza B virus studies.

METHODS:

Tree shrews and ferrets were inoculated with either a Yamagata or Victoria lineage influenza B virus. Symptoms including nasal discharge and weight loss were observed. Nasal wash and respiratory tissues were collected at 2, 4 and 6 days post inoculation (DPI). Viral titers were measured in nasal washes and tissues were used for pathological examination and extraction of mRNA for measurement of cytokine expression.

RESULTS:

Clinical signs and pathological changes were also evident in the respiratory tracts of tree shrews and ferrets. Although nasal symptoms including sneezing and rhinorrhea were evident in ferrets infected with influenza B virus, tree shrews showed no significant respiratory symptoms, only milder nasal secretions appeared. Weight loss was observed in tree shrews but not ferrets. V0215 and Y12 replicated in all three animal (ferrets, tree shrews and mice) models with peak titers evident on 2DPI. There were no significant differences in peak viral titers in ferrets and tree shrews inoculated with Y12 at 2 and 4DPI, but viral titers were detected at 6DPI in tree shrews. Tree shrews infected with influenza B virus showed similar seroconversion and respiratory tract pathology to ferrets. Elevated levels of cytokines were detected in the tissues isolated from the respiratory tract after infection with either V0215 or Y12 compared to the levels in the uninfected control in both animals. Overall, the tree shrew was sensitive to infection and disease by influenza B virus.

CONCLUSION:

The tree shrew to be a promising model for influenza B virus research.

KEYWORDS:

Animal model; Ferret; Influenza B virus; List of Abbreviations.; Mouse; Tree shrew

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