Author(s): Hilbe M, Girao V, Bachofen C, Schweizer M, Zlinszky K,
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Abstract Cattle persistently infected with a noncytopathic Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) are at risk of developing fatal "mucosal disease" (MD). The authors investigated the role of various apoptosis pathways in the pathogenesis of lesions in animals suffering from MD. Therefore, they compared the expression of caspase-3, caspase-8, caspase-9, and Bcl-2L1 (Bcl-x) in tissues of 6 BVDV-free control animals, 7 persistently infected (PI) animals that showed no signs of MD (non-MD PI animals), and 11 animals with MD and correlated the staining with the localization of mucosal lesions. Caspase-3 and -9 staining were markedly stronger in MD cases and were associated with mucosal lesions, even though non-MD PI animals and negative controls also expressed caspase-9. Conversely, caspase-8 was not elevated in any of the animals analyzed. Interestingly, Bcl-x also colocalized with mucosal lesions in the MD cases. However, Bcl-x was similarly expressed in tissues from all 3 groups, and thus, its role in apoptosis needs to be clarified. This study clearly illustrates ex vivo that the activation of the intrinsic, but not the extrinsic, apoptosis pathway is a key element in the pathogenesis of MD lesions observed in cattle persistently infected with BVDV. However, whether direct induction of apoptosis in infected cells or indirect effects induced by the virus are responsible for the lesions observed remains to be established.
This article was published in Vet Pathol
and referenced in Journal of Infectious Diseases & Preventive Medicine