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Open Access Differential Susceptibility of SD and CD Rats to a Novel Rat Theilovirus

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Antibodies to rat theilovirus (RTV) have been detected in rats for many years because of their serologic crossreactivity with strains of Theiler murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) of mice. Little information exists regarding this pathogen, yet it is among the most common viruses detected in serologic surveys of rats used in research. In the study reported here, a novel isolate of RTV, designated RTV1, was cultured from the feces of infected rats. The RTV1 genome contained 8094 nucleotides and had approximately 95% identity with another rat theilovirus, NSG910, and 73% identity with TMEV strains. In addition, the genome size of RTV1 was similar to those of TMEV strains but larger than that reported for NSG910. Oral inoculation of Sprague–Dawley (SD) and CD male rats (n = 10 each group) with RTV1 revealed that SD rats were more susceptible than CD rats to RTV1 infection. At 14 d postinoculation, 100% of SD rats shed virus in the feces, and 70% were positive for RTV serum antibodies. By 56 d postinoculation 30% of SD rats continued to have detectable virus in the feces, and 90% had seroconverted. In contrast, in inoculated CD rats RTV was detected only in the feces at 14 d postinoculation, at which time 40% of CD rats were fecal positive. By 56 d postinoculation only 20% of CD rats had detectable RTV serum antibodies. Our data provide additional sequence information regarding a rat-specific Cardiovirus and indicate that SD rats are more susceptible than CD rats to RTV1 infection.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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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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