Histological lesions in vascular tissues of bovine herpes virus type 4-infected rabbits

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The gamma-herpes virus bovine herpes virus type 4 (BoHV-4) is distributed worldwide in cattle populations with unknown pathogenicity. Bovine endothelial cells were recently shown to be susceptible to BoHV-4 infection in vitro and this virus accelerated the cholesterol-induced atherosclerotic process in rabbits. In this study, the in vivo effect of BoHV-4 on cardiovascular tissue was investigated by intravenous infection of rabbits fed a cholesterol free diet. Inflammatory lesions of vascular tissue in aortic and valvular endothelial cells, and smooth muscle cells were detected by H&E staining, PCR, IF, EM immunohistochemistry, while virus isolation was used to detect virus particles. Acute and chronic vasculitis, signs of chronic endocarditis, with mononuclear cell accumulation and a fresh thrombus was found. Herpes viruses have already been thought to initiate cardio-vascular disorders, now this paper shows that a bovine gamma-herpes virus could also be a causative agent of vascular lesions in mammals fed a normal diet. BoHV-4-infection of rabbits could serve as a useful animal model for research into virus-induced human cardio-vascular diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2 2003


  • Bovine herpesvirus type 4
  • Cardio-vascular system
  • Histology
  • Rabbit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • veterinary(all)

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