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Virologica Sinica, 29 (6) : 393-402, 2014
Research Article
Coronavirus MHV-A59 infects the lung and causes severe pneumonia in C57BL/6 mice
1. Key Laboratory of Infection and Immunity CASKLII, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 15 Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China

2. Key Laboratory of Chemical Biology and Molecular Engineering of Ministry of Education, Institute of Biotechnology, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China

3. Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, NC 27599-7295, USA

4. Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
 Correspondence: tanghong@moon.ibp.ac.cn
It remains challenging to develop animal models of lung infection and severe pneumonia by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome cornavirus (MERS-CoV) without high level of containment. This inevitably hinders understanding of virushost interaction and development of appropriate countermeasures. Here we report that intranasal inoculation of sublethal doses of murine coronavirus mouse hepatitis virus A-59 (MHV-A59), a hepatic and neuronal tropic coronavirus, can induce acute pneumonia and severe lung injuries in C57BL/6 mice. Infl ammatory leukocyte infi ltrations, hemorrhages and fi brosis of alveolar walls can be observed 2-11 days after MHV-A59 infection. This pathological manifestation is associated with dramatical elevation of tissue IP-10 and IFN-γ and moderate increase of TNF-α and IL-1β, but inability of anti-viral type I interferon response. These results suggest that intranasal infection of MHV-A59 would serve as a surrogate mouse model of acute respiratory distress syndrome by SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV infections.
Received: 22 Dec 2014  Accepted: 2 Nov 2014  Published online: 1 Dec 2014
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