1887

Abstract

Four specific pathogen-free ponies were infected intranasally with equine herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1) and two were similarly infected with an EHV-1 thymidine kinase deletion mutant. The primary infections were characterized by a transient fever accompanied by virus shedding into nasal mucus and viraemia. No virus was detected in clinical specimens after 15 days post-infection. Two months later a reactivation stimulus was administered to all six ponies and only the four that had been previously inoculated with wild-type EHV-1 shed virus into nasal mucus (for 10 days), proving the presence of a latent infection. No recurrence of viraemia was observed. The animals were monitored for a further 6 weeks and were consistently shown to be free from infectious virus. Tissues were then obtained postmortem. Co-cultivation of explanted trigeminal ganglia from two out of the four ponies that carried the wild-type virus yielded cultures positive for infectious virus. Apart from nasal epithelium, no infectious virus was recovered from any other tissue. PCR confirmed the presence of virus DNA in the ganglia from all six ponies. Lymphoid tissues also yielded positive signals using this technique. The relevance of virus detection by PCR in lymphoid and neural tissues is discussed in relation to the potential for reactivation of latent virus in the host. However, evidence is presented to show that EHV-1 is neurotropic and, in common with other members of the alpha- herpesvirus subfamily, establishes latency in sensory ganglia from which virus can be reactivated.

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1994-08-01
2022-05-28
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