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Virology. 1995 Feb 20;207(1):143-53.

Analyses of homologous rotavirus infection in the mouse model.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Palo Alto V.A. Medical Center, California 94304.


The group A rotaviruses are significant human and veterinary pathogens in terms of morbidity, mortality, and economic loss. Despite its importance, an effective vaccine remains elusive due at least in part to our incomplete understanding of rotavirus immunity and protection. Both large and small animal model systems have been established to address these issues. One significant drawback of these models is the lack of well-characterized wild-type homologous viruses and their cell culture-adapted variants. We have characterized four strains of murine rotaviruses, EC, EHP, EL, and EW, in the infant and adult mouse model using wild-type isolates and cell culture-adapted variants of each strain. Wild-type murine rotaviruses appear to be equally infectious in infant and adult mice in terms of the intensity and duration of virus shedding following primary infection. Spread of infection to naive cagemates is seen in both age groups. Clearance of shedding following primary infection appears to correlate with the development of virus-specific intestinal IgA. Protective immunity is developed in both infant and adult mice following oral infection as demonstrated by a lack of shedding after subsequent wild-type virus challenge. Cell culture-adapted murine rotaviruses appear to be highly attenuated when administered to naive animals and do not spread efficiently to nonimmune cagemates. The availability of these wild-type and cell culture-adapted virus preparations should allow a more systematic evaluation of rotavirus infection and immunity. Furthermore, future vaccine strategies can be evaluated in the mouse model using several fully virulent homologous viruses for challenge.

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