Biological characterization of acute infection with ground squirrel hepatitis virus

D. Ganem, Barbara Weiser, A. Barchuk, R. J. Brown, H. E. Varmus

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19 Scopus citations


Ground squirrel hepatitis virus (GSHV) is a small DNA virus, structurally and antigenically related to the human hepatitis B virus, which occurs naturally among certain wild populations of ground squirrels (P.L. Marion et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 77:2941-2945, 1980). Serum from naturally infected animals was used to transmit GSHV in the laboratory by parenteral inoculation of susceptible squirrels. Sixty percent of recipient animals developed viral surface antigenemia after a latent period of 2 to 3 months; three of these animals have remained viremic for over 9 months. Like hepatitis B virus, GSHV demonstrates marked hepatotropism, with viral DNA detected in significant quantities only in the liver, where an average of 6 x 102 to 6 x 103 viral DNA molecules per cell were found by molecular hybridization. However, histological signs of liver injury after acute infection are minimal. In contrast to infection of its natural host, parenteral administration of GSHV to rats, mice, guinea pigs, and hamsters did not result in demonstrable antigenemia, suggesting that the host range of GSHV, like that of hepatitis B virus, is narrow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-373
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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