• Kathryn E. Wright
  • William E. Rawls
Part of the Infectious agents and pathogenesis book series (IAPA)


Over the years, three phenomena have focused attention on members of the arenaviruses family. Soon after the discovery of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), it became apparent that the virus was capable of establishing a persistent infection in its natural host, Mus musculus. (1) Persistence of virus in animals infected in utero or in the newborn period is a feature shared by all Arenaviridae and probably represents a mechanism for virus survival in nature.(2) The mechanisms responsible for this viral persistence have been extensively investigated. Second, acute disease due to LCMV in adult mice can be abrogated by treatments that immunosuppressed the host. Subsequent studies have demonstrated that much of the pathology associated with Arenaviridae-induced diseases has an immune basis. These include the acute central nervous system (CNS) disease attributed to T lymphocytes as well as renal disease in chronically infected animals attributable to immune complex formation.(3,4) Finally, arenaviruses produce severe hemorrhagic diseases in humans, an incidental host. These include Argentine hemorrhagic fever caused by Junin virus, Bolivian hemorrhagic fever caused by Machupo virus, and Lassa fever caused by Lassa virus. The virulence of these viruses in humans has hampered investigation of the pathophysiology of the diseases they produce, although considerable information is available from clinical studies and from experimental infections using avirulent mutants in susceptible laboratory animals. Despite the fact that virus modulation of host immunity could contribute to all three phenomena, there is only limited evidence that this is the case.


Infected Mouse Viral Antigen Hemorrhagic Fever Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Lassa Fever 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn E. Wright
    • 1
  • William E. Rawls
    • 2
  1. 1.Scripps Clinic and Research FoundationLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PathologyMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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