Pathogenesis of experimental rhesus cytomegalovirus infection

Kristen M. Lockridge, Getachew Sequar, Shan Shan Zhou, Yujuan Yue, Carol P. Mandell, Peter A Barry

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101 Scopus citations


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) establishes and maintains a lifelong persistence following infection in an immunocompetent host. The determinants of a stable virus-host relationship are poorly defined. A nonhuman primate model for HCMV was used to investigate virological and host parameters of infection in a healthy host. Juvenile rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) were inoculated with rhesus cytomegalovirus (RhCMV), either orally or intravenously (i.v.), and longitudinally necropsied. None of the animals displayed clinical signs of disease, although hematologic abnormalities were observed intermittently in i.v. inoculated animals. RhCMV DNA was detected transiently in the plasma of all animals at 1 to 2 weeks postinfection (wpi) and in multiple tissues beginning at 2 to 4 wpi. Splenic tissue was the only organ positive for RhCMV DNA in all animals. The location of splenic cells expressing RhCMV immediate-early protein 1 (IE1) in i.v. inoculated animals changed following inoculation. At 4 to 5 wpi, most IE1-positive cells were perifollicular, and at 25 wpi, the majority were located within the red pulp. All animals developed anti-RhCMV immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies within 1 to 2 wpi and IgG antibodies within 2 to 4 wpi against a limited number of viral proteins. Host reactivity to RhCMV proteins increased in titer (total and neutralizing) and avidity with time. These results demonstrate that while antiviral immune responses were able to protect from disease, they were insufficient to eliminate reservoirs of persistent viral gene expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9576-9583
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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