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Weight loss and reduced body temperature determine humane endpoints in a mouse model of ocular herpesvirus infection.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science : JAALAS
Publication Date
Volume
52
Issue
3
Pages
277–285
Identifiers
PMID: 23849410
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) has been studied in well-established mouse models to generate latently infected animals for investigations into viral pathogenesis, latency mechanisms, and reactivation. Mice exhibit clinical signs of debilitating infection, during which time they may become severely ill before recovery or die spontaneously. Because the cohort of mice that does survive provides valuable data on latency, there is keen interest in developing methodologies for earlier detection and treatment of severe disease to ultimately increase survival rates. Here, BALB/c mice were inoculated ocularly with either a wildtype (LAT(+)) or mutant (LAT(-)) strain of HSV1. Mice were monitored daily through day 30 after infection; trigeminal ganglia were harvested at day 60 to assess viral DNA load. Cages were provided with nesting material, and fluid supplementation was administered to mice with body temperatures of 35 °C or lower, as measured by subcutaneous microchip thermometry. The results showed that infected mice with temperatures less than 34.5 °C did not recover to normothermia and were euthanized or spontaneously died, regardless of infective viral strain. By using a combination of criteria including body temperature (less than 34.5 °C) and weight loss (more than 0.05 g daily) for removal of animals from the study, approximately 98% of mice that died spontaneously could have been euthanized prior to death, without concern of potential recovery to the experimental endpoint (100% specificity). Frequent monitoring of alterations to general wellbeing, body temperature, and weight was crucial for establishing humane endpoints in this ocular HSV model.

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