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Pathogenesis of Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) and Triple-Reassortant Swine Influenza A (H1) Viruses in Mice

Belser, Jessica A., Wadford, Debra A., Pappas, Claudia, Gustin, Kortney M., Maines, Taronna R., Pearce, Melissa B., Zeng, Hui, Swayne, David E., Pantin-Jackwood, Mary, Katz, Jacqueline M., Tumpey, Terrence M.
Journal of virology 2010 v.84 no.9 pp. 4194
Influenza A virus, microbial genetics, genetic recombination, viral diseases of animals and humans, signs and symptoms (animals and humans), morbidity, mortality, virus replication, pathogenesis, virulence, lungs, respiratory tract diseases, mice
The pandemic H1N1 virus of 2009 (2009 H1N1) continues to cause illness worldwide, primarily in younger age groups. To better understand the pathogenesis of these viruses in mammals, we used a mouse model to evaluate the relative virulence of selected 2009 H1N1 viruses and compared them to a representative human triple-reassortant swine influenza virus that has circulated in pigs in the United States for over a decade preceding the current pandemic. Additional comparisons were made with the reconstructed 1918 virus, a 1976 H1N1 swine influenza virus, and a highly pathogenic H5N1 virus. Mice were inoculated intranasally with each virus and monitored for morbidity, mortality, viral replication, hemostatic parameters, cytokine production, and lung histology. All 2009 H1N1 viruses replicated efficiently in the lungs of mice and possessed a high degree of infectivity but did not cause lethal disease or exhibit extrapulmonary virus spread. Transient weight loss, lymphopenia, and proinflammatory cytokine and chemokine production were present following 2009 H1N1 virus infection, but these levels were generally muted compared with a triple-reassortant swine virus and the 1918 virus. 2009 H1N1 viruses isolated from fatal cases did not demonstrate enhanced virulence in this model compared with isolates from mild human cases. Histologically, infection with the 2009 viruses resulted in lesions in the lung varying from mild to moderate bronchiolitis with occasional necrosis of bronchiolar epithelium and mild to moderate peribronchiolar alveolitis. Taken together, these studies demonstrate that the 2009 H1N1 viruses exhibited mild to moderate virulence in mice compared with highly pathogenic viruses.