One-week-old pigs were infected intranasally with the Ka strain of Aujeszky's disease virus (ADV) or with mutants that were lacking the non-essential envelope glycoproteins gI, gp63 or gIII. The invasion and spread of these strains in the olfactory nervous pathway were examined by assessing virus levels and by localizing viral antigens in the olfactory mucosa representing the first neuronal level, in the olfactory bulb representing the second neuronal level and in the lateral olfactory gyrus, the rostral perforated substance and the piriform lobe, all representing the third neuronal level. The Ka parental strain invaded and spread up to the third neuronal level. The extent of invasion and spread of the gIII mutant were similar to those of the parental strain. The gp63 mutant replicated normally in the olfactory mucosa, but its spread to all the other levels was limited as compared with that of the parental strain. The gI mutant showed a defect in infection at all neuronal levels. These results indicate that, of the non-essential envelope glycoproteins, gI plays the major role in neural invasion and spread of ADV in its natural host. The pattern of invasion and spread of these mutants in the olfactory pathway of pigs was similar to that previously observed in the trigeminal pathway. The type of nervous pathway therefore appears not to influence the neuropathogenesis of ADV or mutants deleted in non-essential envelope glycoproteins in the pig.


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