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Brief Report

SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern Infect the Respiratory Tract and Induce Inflammatory Response in Wild-Type Laboratory Mice

Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: F. Javier Salguero
Viruses 2022, 14(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14010027
Received: 19 November 2021 / Revised: 13 December 2021 / Accepted: 22 December 2021 / Published: 24 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue SARS-CoV-2 and Animal Models)
The emergence of new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern pose a major threat to public health, due to possible enhanced virulence, transmissibility and immune escape. These variants may also adapt to new hosts, in part through mutations in the spike protein. In this study, we evaluated the infectivity and pathogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern in wild-type C57BL/6 mice. Six-week-old mice were inoculated intranasally with a representative virus from the original B.1 lineage, or the emerging B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 lineages. We also infected a group of mice with a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV-2 (MA10). Viral load and mRNA levels of multiple cytokines and chemokines were analyzed in the lung tissues on day 3 after infection. Our data show that unlike the B.1 virus, the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 viruses are capable of infecting C57BL/6 mice and replicating at high concentrations in the lungs. The B.1.351 virus replicated to higher titers in the lungs compared with the B.1.1.7 and MA10 viruses. The levels of cytokines (IL-6, TNF-α, IL-1β) and chemokine (CCL2) were upregulated in response to the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 infection in the lungs. In addition, robust expression of viral nucleocapsid protein and histopathological changes were detected in the lungs of B.1.351-infected mice. Overall, these data indicate a greater potential for infectivity and adaptation to new hosts by emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2 variants; C57BL/6 mice; host-range; inflammation COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2 variants; C57BL/6 mice; host-range; inflammation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Stone, S.; Rothan, H.A.; Natekar, J.P.; Kumari, P.; Sharma, S.; Pathak, H.; Arora, K.; Auroni, T.T.; Kumar, M. SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern Infect the Respiratory Tract and Induce Inflammatory Response in Wild-Type Laboratory Mice. Viruses 2022, 14, 27. https://doi.org/10.3390/v14010027

AMA Style

Stone S, Rothan HA, Natekar JP, Kumari P, Sharma S, Pathak H, Arora K, Auroni TT, Kumar M. SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern Infect the Respiratory Tract and Induce Inflammatory Response in Wild-Type Laboratory Mice. Viruses. 2022; 14(1):27. https://doi.org/10.3390/v14010027

Chicago/Turabian Style

Stone, Shannon, Hussin A. Rothan, Janhavi P. Natekar, Pratima Kumari, Shaligram Sharma, Heather Pathak, Komal Arora, Tabassum T. Auroni, and Mukesh Kumar. 2022. "SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern Infect the Respiratory Tract and Induce Inflammatory Response in Wild-Type Laboratory Mice" Viruses 14, no. 1: 27. https://doi.org/10.3390/v14010027

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