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Open Access Murine Norovirus Increases Atherosclerotic Lesion Size and Macrophages in Ldlr −/− Mice

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Murine norovirus (MNV) is prevalent in rodent facilities in the United States. Because MNV has a tropism for macrophages and dendritic cells, we hypothesized that it may alter phenotypes of murine models of inflammatory diseases, such as obesity and atherosclerosis. We examined whether MNV infection influences phenotypes associated with diet-induced obesity and atherosclerosis by using Ldlr −/− mice. Male Ldlr −/− mice were maintained on either a diabetogenic or high-fat diet for 16 wk, inoculated with either MNV or vehicle, and monitored for changes in body weight, blood glucose, glucose tolerance, and insulin sensitivity. Influence of MNV on atherosclerosis was analyzed by determining aortic sinus lesion area. Under both dietary regimens, MNV-infected and control mice gained similar amounts of weight and developed similar degrees of insulin resistance. However, MNV infection was associated with significant increases in aortic sinus lesion area and macrophage content in Ldlr −/− mice fed a high-fat diet but not those fed a diabetogenic diet. In conclusion, MNV infection exacerbates atherosclerosis in Ldlr −/− mice fed a high-fat diet but does not influence obesity- and diabetes-related phenotypes. Increased lesion size was associated with increased macrophages, suggesting that MNV may influence macrophage activation or accumulation in the lesion area.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Comparative Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA 2: Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA

Publication date: 01 August 2011

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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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