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Infection of calves with bovine norovirus Glll.1 strain jena virus: an experimental model to study the pathogenesis of norovirus infection

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  • Biology
  • Chemistry


The experimental infection of newborn calves with bovine norovirus was used as a homologous large animal model to study the pathogenesis of norovirus infection and to determine target cells for viral replication. Six newborn calves were inoculated orally with Jena virus (JV), a bovine norovirus GIII.1 strain, and six calves served as mock-inoculated controls. Following infection, calves were euthanized before the onset of diarrhea (12 h postinoculation [hpi]), shortly after the onset of diarrhea (18 to 21 hpi), and postconvalescence (4 days pi [dpi]). Calves inoculated with JV developed severe watery diarrhea at 14 to 16 hpi, and this symptom lasted for 53.5 to 67.0 h. Intestinal lesions were characterized by severe villus atrophy together with loss and attenuation of villus epithelium. Viral capsid antigen (JV antigen) was detected by immunohistochemistry in the cytoplasm of epithelial cells on villi. In addition, granular material positive for JV antigen was detected in the lamina propria of villi. Lesions first appeared at 12 hpi and were most extensive at 18 to 19 hpi, extending from midjejunum to ileum. The intestinal mucosa had completely recovered at 4 dpi. There was no indication of systemic infection as described for norovirus infection in mice. JV was found in intestinal contents by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) as early as 12 hpi. Fecal shedding of the virus started at 13 hpi and stopped at 23 hpi or at necropsy (4 dpi), respectively. Throughout the trial, none of the control calves tested positive for JV by ELISA or RT-PCR.

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