A small animal peripheral challenge model of yellow fever using interferon-receptor deficient mice and the 17D-204 vaccine strain

Brett A Thibodeaux, Nina C Garbino, Nathan M Liss, Joseph Piper, Carol D Blair, John T Roehrig
Vaccine 2012 May 2, 30 (21): 3180-7
Yellow fever virus (YFV), a member of the genus Flavivirus, is a mosquito-borne pathogen that requires wild-type (wt), virulent strains to be handled at biosafety level (BSL) 3, with HEPA-filtration of room air exhaust (BSL3+). YFV is found in tropical regions of Africa and South America and causes severe hepatic disease and death in humans. Despite the availability of effective vaccines (17D-204 or 17DD), YFV is still responsible for an estimated 200,000 cases of illness and 30,000 deaths annually. Besides vaccination, there are no other prophylactic or therapeutic strategies approved for use in human YF. Current small animal models of YF require either intra-cranial inoculation of YF vaccine to establish infection, or use of wt strains (e.g., Asibi) in order to achieve pathology. We have developed and characterized a BSL2, adult mouse peripheral challenge model for YFV infection in mice lacking receptors for interferons α, β, and γ (strain AG129). Intraperitoneal challenge of AG129 mice with 17D-204 is a uniformly lethal in a dose-dependent manner, and 17D-204-infected AG129 mice exhibit high viral titers in both brain and liver suggesting this infection is both neurotropic and viscerotropic. Furthermore the use of a mouse model permitted the construction of a 59-biomarker multi-analyte profile (MAP) using samples of brain, liver, and serum taken at multiple time points over the course of infection. This MAP serves as a baseline for evaluating novel therapeutics and their effect on disease progression. Changes (4-fold or greater) in serum and tissue levels of pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators as well as other factors associated with tissue damage were noted in AG129 mice infected with 17D-204 as compared to mock-infected control animals.

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