Veterinary research

Comparison of the pathogenesis of the highly passaged MCMV Smith strain with that of the low passaged MCMV HaNa1 isolate in BALB/c mice upon oronasal inoculation.

PMID 26340811


Murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) Smith strain is widely used in mouse models to study HCMV infections. Due to high serial passages, MCMV Smith has acquired genetic and biological changes. Therefore, a low passaged strain would be more relevant to develop mouse models. Here, the pathogenesis of an infection with MCMV Smith was compared with that of an infection with a low passaged Belgian MCMV isolate HaNa1 in BALB/c adult mice following oronasal inoculation with either a low (10(4) TCID50/mouse) or high (10(6) TCID50/mouse) inoculation dose. Both strains were mainly replicating in nasal mucosa and submandibular glands for one to two months. In nasal mucosa, MCMV was detected earlier and longer (1-49 days post inoculation (dpi)) and reached higher titers with the high inoculation dose compared to the low inoculation dose (14-35 dpi). In submandibular glands, a similar finding was observed (high dose: 7-49 dpi; low dose: 14-42 dpi). In lungs, both strains showed a restricted replication. In spleen, liver and kidneys, only the Smith strain established a productive infection. The infected cells were identified as olfactory neurons and sustentacular cells in olfactory epithelium, macrophages and dendritic cells in NALT, acinar cells in submandibular glands, and macrophages and epithelial cells in lungs for both strains. Antibody analysis demonstrated for both strains that IgG2a was the main detectable antibody subclass. Overall, our results show that significant phenotypic differences exist between the two strains. MCMV HaNa1 has been shown to be interesting for use in mouse models in order to get better insights for HCMV infections in immunocompetent humans.