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Open Access Extreme Susceptibility of African Naked Mole Rats (Heterocephalus glaber) to Experimental Infection with Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1

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Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1) is widely used as a gene delivery vector in a variety of laboratory animals. In a recent study, a thymidine-kinase–inactive (replication-conditional) HSV1 used as a delivery vector was lethal in naked mole rats, whereas mice infected with the identical virus showed no adverse effects. This result prompted us to undertake a controlled comparative histologic study of the effect of HSV1 infection on naked mole rats and mice. Replication-competent and replication-conditional HSV1 caused widespread inflammation and necrosis in multiple organ systems of naked mole rats but not mice; naked mole rats infected with replication-defective virus showed no adverse effects. We conclude that the lethality of HSV1 for naked mole rats is likely the result of overwhelming infection, possibly in part due to this species' natural lack of proinflammatory neuropeptides at the initial site of infection.

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Document Type: Case Report

Affiliations: 1: Biological Resources Laboratory, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 2: Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana, Urbana, Illinois 3: Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, South Carolina 4: Department of Anesthesiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Publication date: 2009-02-01

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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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