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Open Access Prevalence of Enterotropic and Polytropic Mouse Hepatitis Virus in Enzootically Infected Mouse Colonies

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Mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) causes the most prevalent viral infection in contemporary laboratory mouse colonies. According to their primary replication site, different strains of MHV segregate into two overlapping biotypes, enterotropic and polytropic. These two groups vary greatly in disease pattern, pathogenicity, immune response, and duration of infection. Historically, the polytropic MHV strains represent the extensively studied prototype strains that have minimal enterotropism, whereas enterotropic MHV strains have been less characterized. Anecdotal reports suggest that most MHV strains encountered today belong to the enterotropic biotype. We have identified 15 isolates of MHV from 19 independent enzootically infected mouse colonies. Sequencing of a variable region of the nucleoprotein (N) gene of each isolate confirmed that all were independent genetic variants. The principal tissue tropism of the new isolates was determined by experimental inoculation of infant mice and examination of intestine, liver, spleen, and brain for lesions. Nine isolates infected only intestine; four isolates infected intestine and liver; one isolate infected intestine, liver, and brain; and one isolate infected liver. These results confirm that the enterotropic MHV biotype is predominant in contemporary laboratory mouse colonies. The MHV biotype features need to be taken into consideration when dealing with MHV infections.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Laboratory Animal Science, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, Section of Comparative Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, P.O. Box 208016, New Haven, CT 06520-8016 2: Institute of Laboratory Animal Science, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland 3: Center for Comparative Medicine, Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, California

Publication date: 1998-02-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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