Experimental Usutu virus infection of suckling mice causes neuronal and glial cell apoptosis and demyelination

Herbert Weissenböck, Tamás Bakonyi, Sonja Chvala, Norbert Nowotny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Usutu virus (USUV), a mosquito-borne flavivirus of the Japanese encephalitis virus group has been responsible for avian mortality in Austria since 2001. In the present study, the neuropathogenicity and neuroinvasiveness of USUV for 1-week-old suckling mice was investigated. After intraperitoneal inoculation, clinical signs like depression, disorientation, paraplegia, paralysis and coma were observed between 6 and 11 days post infection. Histologically, there was widespread neuronal apoptosis especially in the brain stem. Inflammatory infiltrates were scarce. Apoptosis was also present in white matter of cerebellum, medulla and spinal cord, and was frequently accompanied by primary demyelination. While apoptosis of neurons was clearly associated with presence of viral signals, the cause of apoptosis of white matter cells was more ambiguous. However, focal immunostaining was found in the white matter, especially in the spinal cord. As with all flaviviruses, USUV proved to be neuropathogenic for mice. In contrast to other flaviviruses, neuroinvasion occurred only in animals that were not older than 1 week at the time of inoculation. While neuronal apoptosis is a general aspect of flavivirus pathogenicity, demyelination seems to be a unique feature of USUV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-460
Number of pages8
JournalActa Neuropathologica
Volume108
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004

Fingerprint

Demyelinating Diseases
Virus Diseases
Flavivirus
Neuroglia
Apoptosis
Viruses
Spinal Cord
Japanese Encephalitis Viruses
Austria
Paraplegia
Coma
Culicidae
Paralysis
Cerebellum
Brain Stem
Virulence
Neurons
Mortality
Infection
White Matter

Keywords

  • Apoptosis
  • Demyelination
  • Experimental infection
  • Mouse
  • Usutu virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Experimental Usutu virus infection of suckling mice causes neuronal and glial cell apoptosis and demyelination. / Weissenböck, Herbert; Bakonyi, Tamás; Chvala, Sonja; Nowotny, Norbert.

In: Acta Neuropathologica, Vol. 108, No. 5, 11.2004, p. 453-460.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Weissenböck, Herbert ; Bakonyi, Tamás ; Chvala, Sonja ; Nowotny, Norbert. / Experimental Usutu virus infection of suckling mice causes neuronal and glial cell apoptosis and demyelination. In: Acta Neuropathologica. 2004 ; Vol. 108, No. 5. pp. 453-460.
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