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PATHOGENESIS OF WEST NILE VIRUS INFECTION IN DOGS TREATED WITH GLUCOCORTICOIDS

RICHARD A. BOWENDepartment of Biomedical Sciences and Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; Merial Limited, Athens, Georgia; Merial SAS, Lyon, France.

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MELISSA M. ROUGEDepartment of Biomedical Sciences and Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; Merial Limited, Athens, Georgia; Merial SAS, Lyon, France.

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LEONARDO SIGERDepartment of Biomedical Sciences and Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; Merial Limited, Athens, Georgia; Merial SAS, Lyon, France.

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JULES M. MINKEDepartment of Biomedical Sciences and Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; Merial Limited, Athens, Georgia; Merial SAS, Lyon, France.

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ROBERT NORDGRENDepartment of Biomedical Sciences and Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; Merial Limited, Athens, Georgia; Merial SAS, Lyon, France.

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KEMAL KARACADepartment of Biomedical Sciences and Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; Merial Limited, Athens, Georgia; Merial SAS, Lyon, France.

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JEREMY JOHNSONDepartment of Biomedical Sciences and Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; Merial Limited, Athens, Georgia; Merial SAS, Lyon, France.

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Control and glucocorticoid-treated dogs were infected with West Nile virus (WNV) through the bites of infected mosquitoes to study the effect of a commonly used immunomodulator on the magnitude and duration of viremia and on development of clinical disease. All dogs became viremic after challenge. The peak viremia and integrated magnitude of viremia were approximately 40 and 50 times higher, respectively, in the five dogs treated with methyl-prednisolone for 1 month compared with untreated dogs. None of the five control or treated dogs developed signs of clinical disease, nor was histopathologic evidence of neuroinvasion observed in any case. Neutralizing antibodies to WNV were produced in all dogs, with no apparent effect of glucocorticoid treatment. Considering the dramatic effect of glucocorticoid treatment on magnitude of viremia, it is likely that this therapy had suppressive effects on some aspect of innate immunity or T cell function.

Author Notes

Reprint requests: Richard Bowen, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523. E-mail: rbowen@colostate.edu.
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