West Nile virus (WNV) replicates in a wide variety of avian species, which act as amplification hosts. In particular, WNV generates high titers and elicits severe pathology in American crows (AMCRs; Corvus brachyrhynchos), a species that has been used as a sentinel for WNV transmission. Although the specific cellular targets of WNV replication in AMCRs are not well defined, preliminary evidence suggests that leukocytes may be an important target of early replication. Therefore, development of a protocol for ex vivo culture of AMCR leukocytes as a model for assessing differential avian host susceptibility is described herein. WNV growth in these cultures mirrored in vivo viremia profiles. These data indicate that ex vivo leukocyte cultures can be used for preliminary pathological assessment of novel WNV strains and potentially of other flaviviruses that use avian reservoir hosts.
- American crow
- Peripheral blood mononuclear cells
- West Nile virus
ASJC Scopus subject areas