Japanese encephalitis virus tropism in experimentally infected pigs

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Pigs are considered to be the main amplifying host for Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), and their infection can correlate with human cases of disease. Despite their importance in the ecology of the virus as it relates to human cases of encephalitis, the pathogenesis of JEV in pigs remains obscure. In the present study, the localization and kinetics of virus replication were investigated in various tissues after experimental intravenous infection of pigs. The data demonstrate a rapid and broad spreading of the virus to the central nervous system (CNS) and various other organs. A particular tropism of JEV in pigs not only to the CNS but also for secondary lymphoid tissue, in particular the tonsils with the overall highest viral loads, was observed. In this organ, even 11 days post infection, the latest time point of the experiment, no apparent decrease in viral RNA loads and live virus was found despite the presence of a neutralizing antibody response. This was also well beyond the clinical and viremic phase. These results are of significance for the pathogenesis of JEV, and call for further experimental studies focusing on the cellular source and duration of virus replication in pigs.




Ricklin, M. E., Garcìa-Nicolàs, O., Brechbühl, D., Python, S., Zumkehr, B., Posthaus, H., … Summerfield, A. (2016). Japanese encephalitis virus tropism in experimentally infected pigs. Veterinary Research, 47(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13567-016-0319-z

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