1887

Abstract

Rodent models have been used extensively to study West Nile virus (WNV) infection because they develop severe neurological symptoms similar to those observed in human WNV neuroinvasive disease. Most of this research has focused on old lineage (L) 1 strains, while information about pathogenicity is lacking for the most recent L1 and L2 strains, as well as for newly defined lineages. In this study, 4-week-old Swiss mice were inoculated with a collection of 12 WNV isolates, comprising 10 old and recent L1 and L2 strains, the putative L6 strain from Malaysia and the proposed L7 strain Koutango (KOU). The intraperitoneal inoculation of 10-fold dilutions of each strain allowed the characterization of the isolates in terms of LD50, median survival times, ID50, replication in neural and extraneural tissues and antibody production. Based on these results, we classified the isolates in three groups: high virulence (all L1a strains, recent L2 strains and KOU), moderate virulence (B956 strain) and low virulence (Kunjin and Malaysian isolates). We determined that the inoculation of a single dose of 1000 p.f.u. would be sufficient to classify WNV strains by pathotype. We confirmed the enhanced virulence of the KOU strain with a high capacity to cause rapid systemic infection. We also corroborated that differences in pathogenicity among strains do not correlate with phylogenetic lineage or geographic origin, and confirmed that recent European and African WNV strains belonging to L1 and L2 are highly virulent and do not differ in their pathotype profile compared to the prototype NY99 strain.

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2017-05-05
2019-10-21
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