, Volume 141, Issue 7, pp 1221-1229

Cold stress-induced neuroinvasiveness of attenuated arboviruses is not solely mediated by corticosterone

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Summary

In previous studies we have shown that various stress paradigms can induce the penetration of noninvasive, attenuated viruses into the central nervous system (CNS). Since glucocorticoids levels are elevated during stress, we compared the effect of cold stress and corticosterone (CS) injection on neuroinvasiveness of a non-invasive encephalitic virus, WN-25 (West Nile). Exposure of inoculated mice to cold stress or CS resulted in high viremia and a marked increase in mortality when compared to control untreated mice. Exposure of WN-25 inoculated mice to cold treatment or CS injection led to high blood virus levels as compared to nontreated mice (3.2 and 3.1 vs.>1 log 10 PFU/ml). Cold stress or CS (5 000 ng/mouse) treatment caused a mortality rate of 70% and 50% of the WN-25 inoculated mice respectively. No mortality was recorded in control inoculated groups (p<0.05). Passive transfer serum from uninfected cold stressed mice to WN-25 inoculated nonstressed mice, resulted in similar mortality. The levels of CS in passive transferred serum from cold stressed animals was 500 ng/ml, only 2% (100 vs. 5 000 ng) of the CS dose required to obtain a similar effect on viral penetration and mortality when CS was injected directly. Therefore, we concluded that CS was not the sole factor responsible for the cold stress effect on the viral infection outcome.