The neurovirulence of two wild type (wt) and seven Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis (SSPE) measles virus strains was tested in young adult ferrets by intracerebral (IC) inoculation of infected Vero cell suspensions. Wt strains Edmonston and Woodfolk and SSPE strains Mantooth, Halle, and LEC-S did not produce a detectable encephalitis in the ferrets, but caused a significant formation of serum antibodies against measles virus. SSPE strains LEC, IP-3, Biken, and D.R., on the other hand, were all neurovirulent in ferrets, particularly strain D.R. which caused an acute encephalitis in all inoculated animals. Strain Biken was of particular interest since it caused a subacute encephalitis in four of seven ferrets. The subacute encephalitis was characterized by a long incubation time, persistence of virus in the brain for at least 8 mo, widespread inflammatory lesions, and production of measles virus specific IgG in the brain. A study of the biological properties of the various measles virus strains showed that wt strains Edmonston and Woodfolk and SSPE strains Mantooth, Halle, and LEC-S produced free virus particles in significant titers both in Vero and ferret brain (FB) cultures. Cytopathic effect (CPE) with cell-fusion was marked in Vero cultures, whereas only minimal CPE and no cell-fusion were observed in the FB cultures. SSPE strains LEC, IP-3, Biken, and D.R., on the other hand, were mostly cell-associated in Vero and FB cultures, although atypical cell-free particles were produced by strains Biken and IP-3. All four strains showed cell-fusing activity in FB cultures, particularly strain D.R., which was the only strain that spread more actively by fusion in FB than in Vero cultures. The results are discussed in relation to the neurovirulence of the various measles virus strains in adult ferrets. Pronounced cell-fusing activity in FB cells and cell-association with minimal or no production of cell-free virus seem to be essential to establish a brain infection in the animals.
Comparison of wild-type and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis strains of measles virus. Neurovirulence in ferrets and biological properties in cell cultures.
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H Thormar, P D Mehta, H R Brown; Comparison of wild-type and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis strains of measles virus. Neurovirulence in ferrets and biological properties in cell cultures.. J Exp Med 1 September 1978; 148 (3): 674–691. doi: https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.148.3.674
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