Studies of the Coagulation System in Arenaviral Hemorrhagic Fever: Experimental Infection of Strain 13 Guinea Pigs with Pichinde Virus

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  • 1 Coagulation Laboratory, Division of Medicine, and Department of Viral Pathogenesis, Division of Disease Assessment, United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Frederick, Maryland 21701
  • | * Department of Medical Biology, University of Tennessee College of Medicine/Knoxville Unit, Knoxville, Tennessee 37920
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Significant coagulation abnormalities were associated with experimental infection of strain 13 guinea pigs with Pichinde virus, an arenavirus related to the virulent human pathogens Junin, Machupo, and Lassa viruses. Infected animals developed decreased activity of multiple coagulation factors, decreased antithrombin III levels, high levels of fibrin-fibrinogen degradation products, impaired platelet function, and thrombocytopenia. Testing for the presence of a coagulation inhibitor revealed a pattern consistent with factor deficiency. Fibrin thrombi were not found at necropsy.

The findings of high fibrin-fibrinogen degradation product levels and decreased antithrombin III levels, in association with decreased activity of multiple coagulation factors and thrombocytopenia, suggest that intravascular coagulation is a feature of this experimental infection. The demonstration of abnormal platelet function is also significant, as this could contribute to defective hemostasis despite the moderate thrombocytopenia which usually occurs in arenaviral disease.

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