Objective: We report the infection of New Zealand white rabbits with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Methods: EBV prepared in B95-8 (producer) cells was inoculated to rabbits by combined intranasal and oral routes. Blood and white blood cell (WBC) samples were taken before infection, then on days 8, 28 and 98 post-infection (p.i.). Results: Administration of either 3 × 10 8 (group A, 11 rabbits) or 1 × 109 (group B, 10 rabbits) EBV DNA copies per animal induced subacute and/or persistent infection. The IgG antibodies in plasma were detected by ELISA as well as by immunoblot (IB). The IB bands showed mainly antibodies to the BZRF1/Zta transactivation polypeptide (69.2%), the p54 early protein (53.4%) and to the p23 capsid protein (35.8%). No anti-EBNA1 antibody was detected throughout. Viral DNA could be detected by PCR in WBCs and/or spleen of 7 out of 21 infected rabbits (30%), while 60-80% of them showed serologic response. The transiently present EBV DNA was accompanied by LMP1 antigen. Conclusions: Rabbits developed persistent EBV infection in the absence of EBNA1 antibodies and by the lack of typical infectious mononucleosis-like syndrome. The absence of EBNA1 antibody may reflect the lack of EBNA1 in B cells of EBV-inoculated rabbits.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases