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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 150  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 498-503

Japanese encephalitis virus-induced neuropathology in mouse model infected through the conjunctival route

1 Division of Pathology, ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, India
2 Division of Veterinary Public Health, ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, India
3 Division of Biological Products, ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr G Saikumar
Division of Pathology, ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Bareilly 243 122, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_2078_17

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Background & objectives: Mouse is a preferred animal model for studying pathogenesis of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) infections, and different routes of inoculation have been tried. Some neurotropic viruses can reach the brain following infection through ocular route. This study was undertaken to establish JEV-induced clinical disease in mouse model through conjunctival route and document the neuropathological effects. Methods: Ten two-week old Swiss albino mice were inoculated with 5 μl Vero cell cultured virus containing 104.7 TCID50 JEV through conjunctival route. Clinical signs of mice were observed twice daily. After necropsy examination, different organs including eyes and olfactory bulbs were collected for histopathological examination, quantification of viral copy number and antigen by real-time TaqMan assay and immunohistochemistry, respectively. Results: Infected mice showed characteristic clinical signs of JE by 4 days post-infection (dpi). Histopathological lesions in brain included perivascular cuffing by mononuclear cells, focal gliosis, necrosis of neurons and neuronophagia and astrocytosis in the cerebrum, cerebellum and the brainstem. JEV viral load was highest in the brain followed by intestine, heart, liver, spleen, lung and kidney. JEV antigen was detected in the bipolar and ganglion cells of the retina and in the mitral cells and periglomerular cells of olfactory bulb and other parts of the brain. Interpretation & conclusions: JEV infection in mice through conjunctival route produced characteristic clinical signs of the disease and neuropathological lesions. Demonstration of JEV antigen in association with neuropathological lesions in the central nervous system and neuronal cells of the eye showed that conjunctival route could be an effective alternate route for virus invasion into the brain. These findings have biosafety implications for researchers, veterinary practitioners and pig farmers.

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