1887

Abstract

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a ubiquitous virus, causing the most common congenital infection in humans, yet a vaccine against this virus is not available. Experimental studies of immunity against CMV in animal models of infection, such as the infection of mice with mouse CMV (MCMV), have relied mainly on parenteral infection protocols, although the virus naturally transmits by mucosal routes via body fluids. To characterize the biology of infections by mucosal routes, we compared the kinetics of virus replication, latent viral load and CD8 T-cell responses in lymphoid organs upon experimental intranasal (targeting the respiratory tract) and intragastric (targeting the digestive tract) infection with systemic intraperitoneal infection of two unrelated mouse strains. We observed that intranasal infection induced robust and long-term virus replication in the lungs and salivary glands but limited replication in the spleen. CD8 T-cell responses were somewhat weaker than upon intraperitoneal infection but showed similar kinetic profiles and phenotypes of antigen-specific cells. In contrast, intragastric infection resulted in abortive or poor virus replication in all tested organs and poor T-cell responses to the virus, especially at late times after infection. Consistent with the T-cell kinetics, the MCMV latent load was high in the lungs but low in the spleen of intranasally infected mice and lowest in all tested organs upon intragastric infection. In conclusion, we showed that intranasal but not intragastric infection of mice with MCMV represents a robust model to study the short- and long-term biology of CMV infection by a mucosal route.

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2016-01-01
2021-09-23
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