Acta Neuropathologica

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 129–136 | Cite as

Demyelination in mice resulting from infection with a mutant of Semliki Forest virus

  • B. J. Sheahan
  • P. N. Barrett
  • G. J. Atkins
Original Works


Twelve of 34 weanling mice (35%) developed lesions in the brain and spinal cord following i.p. infection with 102 p.f.u. of a mutant of Semliki Forest virus (SFV). Six of 12 mice examined 13 days post infection (p.i.) showed meningo-encephalomyelitis with focal spongiform lesions in the grey and white matter. The spongiform lesions were characterised by necrosis of putative oligodendrocytes, myelinic vacuolation and mononuclear cell infiltration. Only one of six mice examined 21 days p.i. and one of six mice examined 28 days p.i. showed lesions which comprised reactive and dystrophic changes in the white matter. Spongiform lesions and pycnotic nuclei were not seen at these times. Viral nucleocapsids were seen in the early stages of the disease in putative necrotic oligodendrocytes. Mature virus particles were not seen. This was in contrast to mice infected with virulent wild-type SFV when lesions were more severe and were accompanied by large numbers of immature and mature virus particles. It is suggested that the demyelination in mice infected with mutant SFV results primarily from selective destruction of oligodendrocytes by the mutant virus.

Key words

Semliki Forest virus Demyelinating diseases Spongy degeneration Oligodendrocytes 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. J. Sheahan
    • 1
  • P. N. Barrett
    • 2
  • G. J. Atkins
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Veterinary Pathology and MicrobiologyVeterinary College of IrelandDublin 4Ireland
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology, Moyne InstituteTrinity CollegeDublin 2Ireland

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