Virulent and avirulent strains of Semliki Forest virus show similar cell tropism for the murine central nervous system but differ in the severity and rate of induction of cytolytic damage

I. M. Balluz, G. M. Glasgow, H. M. Killen, M. J.M.E.F. Mabruk, B. J. Sheahan, G. J. Atkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)


The pathogenicity of the avirulent, demyelinating A7 strain of Semliki Forest virus (SFV) and the virulent SFV4 strain (derived from an infectious clone) for the central nervous system of adult BALB/c mice following intranasal infection was compared. The techniques used included immunocytochemistry using anti‐SFV antibody and antibodies to cell markers, in situ hybridization (ISH) using a biotinylated cDNA probe specific for SFV, and immunocytochemistry/ISH double labelling. Whereas SFV4 was lethal at 4 days post‐infection, A7‐infected mice appeared normal at all times. Neuronal necrosis in the pyriform cortex was present in both infections, but developed sooner and was more severe iollowing miection with SFV4 than with A7. Intact neurons and putative oligodendrocytes contained viral RNA and virus‐specific antigen in SFV4 infected mice; viral RNA but not virus‐specific antigen was detected in similar cells in A7‐infected mice. These results confirm that SFV4 and A7 share similar cell tropisms for the murine central nervous system, but differ in the severity and rate of development of cytolytic damage. Intranasal infection is an efficient monitoring system for studies of the molecular basis of pathogenicity of SFV infection in mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-239
Number of pages7
JournalNeuropathology and Applied Neurobiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1993



  • demyelination
  • immunocytochemistry
  • in situ hybridization
  • intranasal infection
  • multiple sclerosis
  • neurovirulence
  • Semliki Forest virus
  • togavirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)

Cite this