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Pathogens 2014, 3(3), 633-655; doi:10.3390/pathogens3030633

Small Animal Models for Human Metapneumovirus: Cotton Rat is More Permissive than Hamster and Mouse

Department of Veterinary Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
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Received: 3 March 2014 / Revised: 13 June 2014 / Accepted: 30 June 2014 / Published: 24 July 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Model to Study Viral Immunity)
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Abstract

Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) is the second most prevalent causative agent of pediatric respiratory infections worldwide. Currently, there are no vaccines or antiviral drugs against this virus. One of the major hurdles in hMPV research is the difficulty to identify a robust small animal model to accurately evaluate the efficacy and safety of vaccines and therapeutics. In this study, we compared the replication and pathogenesis of hMPV in BALB/c mice, Syrian golden hamsters, and cotton rats. It was found that BALB/c mice are not permissive for hMPV infection despite the use of a high dose (6.5 log10 PFU) of virus for intranasal inoculation. In hamsters, hMPV replicated efficiently in nasal turbinates but demonstrated only limited replication in lungs. In cotton rats, hMPV replicated efficiently in both nasal turbinate and lung when intranasally administered with three different doses (4, 5, and 6 log10 PFU) of hMPV. Lungs of cotton rats infected by hMPV developed interstitial pneumonia with mononuclear cells infiltrates and increased lumen exudation. By immunohistochemistry, viral antigens were detected at the luminal surfaces of the bronchial epithelial cells in lungs. Vaccination of cotton rats with hMPV completely protected upper and lower respiratory tract from wildtype challenge. The immunization also elicited elevated serum neutralizing antibody. Collectively, these results demonstrated that cotton rat is a robust small animal model for hMPV infection. View Full-Text
Keywords: human metapneumovirus; animal model; BALB/c mice; Syrian golden hamsters; cotton rats human metapneumovirus; animal model; BALB/c mice; Syrian golden hamsters; cotton rats
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Zhang, Y.; Niewiesk, S.; Li, J. Small Animal Models for Human Metapneumovirus: Cotton Rat is More Permissive than Hamster and Mouse. Pathogens 2014, 3, 633-655.

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