A constraint on understanding the pathogenesis of malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) is the limited number of tools to localize infected cells. The amount of detectable virus, visualized in the past either by immunohistochemistry or in situ hybridization (ISH), has been modest in fixed or frozen tissues. This complicates our understanding of the widespread lymphoid proliferation, epithelial necrosis/apoptosis, and arteritis-phlebitis that characterize MCF. In this work, we developed a probe-based in situ hybridization assay targeting 2 ovine herpesvirus 2 (OvHV-2) genes, as well as their respective transcripts, in formalin-fixed tissues. Using this approach, OvHV-2 nucleic acids were detected in lymphocytes in MCF-affected animals following both natural infection (American bison and domestic cattle) and experimental infection (American bison, rabbits, and pigs). The probe did not cross-react with 4 closely related gammaherpesviruses that also cause MCF: alcelaphine herpesvirus 1, alcelaphine herpesvirus 2, caprine herpesvirus 2, and ibex–MCF virus (MCFV). No signal was detected in control tissues negative for OvHV-2. ISH will be of value in analyzing the natural progression of OvHV-2 infection in time-course studies following experimental infection and in addressing the pathogenesis of MCF.
- in situ hybridization
- malignant catarrhal fever
- quantitative polymerase chain reaction
- veterinary pathology
ASJC Scopus subject areas