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Open Access Comparison of the Pathogenicity in Rats of Rat Coronaviruses of Different Neutralization Groups

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Background and Purpose: Rat coronaviruses (RCVs) are common natural pathogens of rats that cause clinical illness, necrosis, and inflammation of respiratory, salivary, and lacrimal organs. The aim of the study was to determine whether antigenically different strains of RCV vary in their pathogenic potential in rats.

Methods: Neutralization groups were identified by use of RCV strain-specific antisera. Sprague Dawley rats were inoculated oronasally with RCV-SDA, RCV-BCMM, or RCV-W. Histologic examination, immunohistochemical analysis, and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis were performed on tissues from infected rats.

Results: Clinical illness was not evident in any of the inoculated rats. The RCV-SDA strain caused mild lesions in the exorbital gland of one rat. The RCV-BCMM strain caused severe lesions in the Harderian and parotid glands and mild lesions in the exorbital glands, lungs, and nasal mucosa. The RCV-W strain caused severe lesions in the Harderian, exorbital, and parotid glands and mild lesions in the submandibular glands, lungs, and nasal mucosa. The RNA concentration was highest in the Harderian, parotid, and exorbital glands of RCV-BCMM- and RCV-W-infected rats at postinoculation day 7.

Conclusions: Although RCV-SDA, RCV-BCMM, and RCV-W caused different degrees and patterns of lesions, neutralization groups are not useful for predicting the pathogenic potential of a new RCV isolate.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1999-10-01

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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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