Nyctinomops laticaudatus bat-associated Rabies virus causes disease with a shorter clinical period and has lower pathogenic potential than strains isolated from wild canids

Rabies is a lethal viral disease that can affect a wide range of mammals. Currently, Rabies virus (RABV) in some European and American countries is maintained primarily in wild species. The regulation of viral replication is one of the critical mechanisms involved in RABV pathogenesis. However, the relationship between replication and the pathogenesis of RABV isolated from wild animals remains poorly understood. In the present study, we evaluated the pathogenicity of the street viruses Nyctinomops laticaudatus bat-associated RABV (NYBRV) and Cerdocyon thous canid-associated RABV (CECRV). Infection of mice with NYBRV led to 33% mortality with rapid disease evolution and marked histopathological changes in the CNS. In contrast, infection with CECRV led to 67% mortality and caused mild neuropathological lesions. The proportion of RABV antigen was significantly higher in the cytoplasm of neuronal cells of the cerebral cortex and in the meninges of mice infected with CECRV and NYBRV, respectively. Moreover, the replication rate of NYBRV was significantly higher (p < 0.001) than that of CECRV in neuroblastoma cells. However, CECRV replicated to a significantly higher titer in epithelial cells. Our results indicate that NYBRV infection results in rapid disease progression accompanied by frequent and intense histopathological alterations in the CNS in mice, and in a high replication rate in neuroblastoma cells. Although, CECRV is more pathogenic in mice, it caused milder histopathological changes in the CNS and replicated more efficiently in epithelial cells. Our data point to a correlation between clinical aspects of disease and the replication of RABV in different cell lines.

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Fuoco NL, Fernandes ER, Guedes F, Silva SR, Guimarães LP, Silva NU, et al. Nyctinomops laticaudatus bat-associated Rabies virus causes disease with a shorter clinical period and has lower pathogenic potential than strains isolated from wild canids. Arch. virol.. 2019 Oct;164(10):2469–2477. doi:10.1007/s00705-019-04335-5.
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