Mouse adenovirus type 1 causes a fatal hemorrhagic encephalomyelitis in adult C57BL/6 but not BALB/c mice

Jack D. Guida, Gyorgy Fejer, Liise Anne Pirofski, Celia F. Brosnan, Marshall S. Horwitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Mouse adenovirus type 1 (MAV-1) produces a lethal disease in newborn or suckling mice characterized by infectious virus and viral lesions in multiple organs. Previous reports of MAV-1 infection of adult mice generally described serologic evidence of infection without morbidity or mortality. However, our current results demonstrate that MAV-1 causes a fatal illness in adult C57BL/6 (B6) mice (50% lethal dose, [LD50], 103.0 PFU) but not in adult BALB/c mice at all of the doses tested (LD50, ≥ 105.0 PFU). Adult (BALB/c x B6)F1 mice were intermediately susceptible (LD50, 104.5 PFU). Clinically, the sensitive B6 mice showed symptoms of acute central nervous system (CNS) disease, including tremors, seizures, ataxia, and paralysis. Light microscopic examination of CNS tissue from the B6 animals revealed petechial hemorrhages, edema, neovascularization, and mild inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. Analysis by electron microscopy showed evidence of inflammation, such as activated microglia, as well as swollen astrocytic endfeet and perivascular lipid deposition indicative of blood-brain barrier dysfunction. Outside of the CNS, the only significant pathological findings were foci of cytolysis in the splenic white pulp. Assessment of viral replication from multiple tissues was performed by using RNase protection assays with an antisense MAV-1 early region 1a probe. The greatest amounts of viral mRNA in MAV-1-infected B6 animals were located in the brain and spinal cord. Less viral message was detected in the spleen, lungs, and heart. No viral mRNA was detected in BALB/c mouse tissue, with the exception of low levels in the heart. Viral titers of organ tissues were also determined and were concordant with RNase protection findings on the brain and spinal cord but failed to demonstrate significant infectious virus in additional organs. Our experiments demonstrate that MAV-1 has a striking tropism for the CNS that is strain dependent, and this provides an informative in vivo model for the study of adenoviral pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7674-7681
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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