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Viremia in Equine Herpes Virus-1 infection and a possible link to Transient Protective Immunity

Journal of Human Virology & Retrovirology
AR Awan,1,2,3 OL Tulp,1,3 H. J Field2


Equine herpes virus (EHV-1) causes respiratory infections in equine, and results in abortion, paresis, neonatal death, and retinopathy and the virus may become latent following initial infection. Virus entry is via the respiratory route, and the virus replicates in the host in ciliated and non-ciliated epithelial cells of the respiratory tract and in Type 1 and Type 2 pneumocytes in the lung parenchyma. After viral replication in the respiratory system, the virus can become disseminated to other parts of body via viraemic cells. The virus also can cross the placenta which leads to abortion of live or dead fetuses without premonitory signs. Infected horses show transient immunity after natural or experimental infection and immune responses to EHV-1, but the immunoprotective status begins to decline after a few months of active infection. Due to the transient immune response, recovered horses are not immunoprotected and thus are prone to subsequent re-infection. Immunity is not long lived after experimental or natural infection, and as a result the development of an effective vaccine has remained a challenge. In this study viraemic cells were studied in a murine EHV-1 infection model. Mice were infected intranasally and viraemic cells were studied on days three and five which occurs during the peak of the infection. The results of this study may help to identify the nature of viraemic cells and their role in the transient immune response to infection. Buffy coat cells and lungs were removed and stained with a fluorescent antibody test for EHV-1 antigen, and lung specimens were subjected to transmission electron microscopy. Both techniques confirmed the presence of viraemic cells in lung tissues. These viraemic cells were further stained for EHV-1 antigen, and for CD4 or CD8 biomarkers and results are discussed re: pathogenesis of EHV-1 infection, identification of viraemic cells in a murine model and possible link of viraemia to transient immune responses in EHV-1 infection, which demonstrate the validity of this murine model for the investigation of the cytopathologic mechanism and sequelae of EHV manifestation in this model.


viraemia, cytopathic effect, CD4 lymphocyte cell expressing molecule 4/ T helper cells, CD8 lymphocyte cell expressing molecule 8, T Cytotoxic lymphocytes, CD19 lymphocyte cell expressing molecule 19 or B cells