Different animal models have been proposed to investigate the mechanisms of Human T-lymphotropic Virus (HTLV)-induced pathogenesis: rats, transgenic and NOD-SCID/γcnull (NOG) mice, rabbits, squirrel monkeys, baboons and macaques. These systems indeed provide useful information but have intrinsic limitations such as lack of disease relevance, species specificity or inadequate immune response. Another strategy based on a comparative virology approach is to characterize a related pathogen and to speculate on possible shared mechanisms. In this perspective, bovine leukemia virus (BLV), another member of the deltaretrovirus genus, is evolutionary related to HTLV-1. BLV induces lymphoproliferative disorders in ruminants providing useful information on the mechanisms of viral persistence, genetic determinants of pathogenesis and potential novel therapies.
Barez, P. Y., de Brogniez, A., Carpentier, A., Gazon, H., Gillet, N., Gutiérrez, G., … Willems, L. (2015). Recent advances in BLV research. Viruses, 7(11), 6080–6088. https://doi.org/10.3390/v7112929