1887

Abstract

Normal immunocompetent mice are not susceptible to non-adapted filoviruses. There are therefore two strategies available to establish a murine model of filovirus infection: adaptation of the virus to the host or the use of genetically modified mice that are susceptible to the virus. A number of knockout (KO) strains of mice with defects in either their adaptive or innate immunity are susceptible to non-adapted filoviruses. In this study, A129 α/β −/− interferon receptor-deficient KO mice, strain A129 IFN-α/β −/−, were used to determine the lethality of a range of filoviruses, including Lake Victoria marburgvirus (MARV), Zaire ebolavirus (ZEBOV), Sudan ebolavirus (SEBOV), Reston ebolavirus (REBOV) and Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus (CIEBOV), administered by using intraperitoneal (IP) or aerosol routes of infection. One hundred percent mortality was observed in all groups of KO mice that were administered with a range of challenge doses of MARV and ZEBOV by either IP or aerosol routes. Mean time to death for both routes was dose-dependent and ranged from 5.4 to 7.4 days in the IP injection challenge, and from 10.2 to 13 days in the aerosol challenge. The lethal dose (50 % tissue culture infective dose, TCID) of ZEBOV for KO mice was <1 TCID ml when administered by either the IP or aerosol route of infection; for MARV the lethal dose was <1 TCID ml by the IP route of infection and <10 TCID ml by the aerosol route. In contrast, there was no mortality after infection with SEBOV or REBOV by either IP or aerosol routes of infection; all the mice lost weight (~15 % loss of group mean body weight with SEBOV and ~7 % with REBOV) but recovered to their original weights by day 14 post-challenge. There was no mortality in mice administered with CIEBOV via the IP route of infection and no clinical signs of infection were observed. The progression of disease was faster following infection with ZEBOV than with MARV but ultimately both viruses caused widespread infection with high titres of the infectious viruses in multiple organs. Histopathological observations were consistent with other animal models and showed widespread organ damage. This study suggests that MARV and ZEBOV are more virulent when administered via the IP route rather than by aerosol infection, although both are highly virulent by either route. The KO mouse may provide a useful model to test potential antiviral therapeutics against wild-type filoviruses.

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2012-01-01
2019-09-22
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