This study was conducted to compare the pathogenesis of acute and latent infections with closely related bovine herpesvirus types 1 (BHV-1) and 5 (BHV-5) in their natural host. Two groups of eight calves were inoculated intranasally with BHV-1 or BHV-5. Although BHV-1 and BHV-5 similarly replicate in the nasal mucosa after inoculation, both viruses differ markedly in their ability to cause disease, BHV-5 being responsible of some fatal encephalitis while BHV-1 inducing rhinotracheitis. Virus isolation and immunohistochemistry demonstrated that BHV-5 replicates extensively in neurons of the central nervous system (CNS) and in respiratory cells of lungs, tracheal and nasal mucosae. Invasion of the CNS likely occurs through the trigeminal and olfactory pathways. Both groups developed cross-neutralising antibodies during this experiment suggesting partial clinical cross-protection afforded by the two infections. Three months after primary infection, experimental reactivation showed that BHV-5 was able to establish latency in the trigeminal ganglia but also the CNS of surviving calves. Moreover, laboratory findings suggested that BHV-5 could also persist in the tracheal and nasal mucosae. These results indicate that, after primary infection, BHV-1 and BHV-5 displayed similar biological features and consequently need to be considered together for the control of BHV-1 infection.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: May 1, 2001
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