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Rodent models of congenital cytomegalovirus infection

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Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a leading viral cause of congenital infections in the central nervous system (CNS) and may result in severe long-term sequelae. High rates of sequelae following congenital HCMV infection and insufficient antiviral therapy in the perinatal period make the development of an HCMV-specific vaccine a high priority of modern medicine. Due to species specificity of HCMV, animal models are frequently used to study CMV pathogenesis. Studies of murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infections of adult mice have served a major role as a model of CMV biology and pathogenesis, while MCMV infection of newborn mice has been successfully used as a model of perinatal CMV infection. Newborn mice infected with MCMV have high levels of viremia during which the virus establishes productive infection in most organs, coupled with a strong inflammatory response. Productive infection in the brain parenchyma during early postnatal period leads to an extensive non-necrotizing multifocal widespread encephalitis characterized by infiltration of components of both innate and adaptive immunity. As a result, impairment in postnatal development of mouse cerebellum leads to long-term motor and sensor disabilities. This chapter summarizes current findings of rodent models of perinatal CMV infection and describes methods for analysis of perinatal MCMV infection in newborn mice.




Cekinovic, D., Lisnic, V. J., & Jonjic, S. (2014). Rodent models of congenital cytomegalovirus infection. Methods in Molecular Biology, 1119, 289–310.

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