Infectious virus production by ferret nasal mucosa and lung organ cultures has been monitored in both tissue pieces and medium over 24 h following inoculation with an Asian (HN) strain of influenza virus. Freshly prepared cultures of nasal mucosa produced approx. 10-fold more virus per cell than fresh lung cultures. Also the nasal mucosa cells liberated into the medium a greater proportion (mean 31%) of the total virus produced than did fresh lung (mean 6%). Maintenance of lung explants for 24 h prior to inoculation resulted in a 20- to 100-fold increase in the amount of virus released. However, total virus production by fresh and maintained lung was similar. Trypsin did not increase the infectivity of virus released from any of the cultures, indicating that the haemagglutinin in the virus particles was cleaved. Similar results were obtained with a Hong Kong (HN) virus strain. Hence, one factor operating in the lower susceptibility of the lung compared with the nasal mucosa may be a lower capacity of lung cells both to produce and release influenza virus.


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