Persistent infection of rabbits with bovine immunodeficiency-like virus.


Chronic infection of rabbits was induced by a single intraperitoneal injection of bovine immunodeficiency-like virus (BIV)-infected cells. Ten BIV-infected animals were monitored serologically for up to 2 years. Results of serologic and virus rescue assays indicated that all animals became infected and demonstrated a rapid and sustained BIV-specific humoral response. BIV was rescued by cocultivation from spleen, lymph nodes, and peripheral blood leukocytes of infected animals. Viral DNA in immune tissues was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction amplification of BIV sequences. These data and specific immunohistochemical staining of mononuclear cells of the spleen for BIV antigen suggest that the infection is targeted to immune system cells.

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