Spread and distribution of viral antigen in nervous canine distemper

M. Vandevelde, A. Zurbriggen, Robert Higgins, D. Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Canine distemper virus (CDV) antigen was demonstrated immunocytochemically in the central nervous system (CNS) of 19 dogs killed from 16 to 170 days after infection. In the earliest lesions, infection of glial cells preceded demyelination, and the degree of myelin destruction correlated with the amount of viral antigen in the tissue. It was concluded that initial demyelination in distemper is directly viral-induced, but the nature of the infected glial cells remains uncertain. Ependymal infection and spread of virus in the subependymal white matter was often seen, suggesting invasion of CDV into the CNS along the CSF pathways. Inflammation during the latter stages of the infection appeared to be associated with viral clearance from the CNS in most dogs. In two dogs with chronic progressive neurologic distemper, viral antigen was still present in the brain suggesting that viral persistence and associated immunologic reactions may contribute to further myelin damage. With the exception of one dog that survived for 6 months after infection, viral antigen was no longer detected in the dogs that had reeovered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-218
Number of pages8
JournalActa Neuropathologica
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Sep 1 1985


  • Canine distemper virus
  • Demyelination
  • Dog
  • Immunocytochemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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