School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

Group B coxsackievirus myocarditis and pancreatitis: connection between viral virulence phenotypes in mice

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The group B coxsackieviruses (CVB) induce experimental pancreatitis and myocarditis in mice and are established agents of human myocarditis, especially in children. We tested the hypothesis that the development of CVB-induced myocarditis is linked to CVB-induced pancreatitis by studying the replication of different CVB strains in mice. Eight of nine genotypically different type 3 CVB (CVB3) strains induced acute pancreatitis in mice; of these, three viruses also induced acute myocarditis. One CVB3 strain was avirulent for both organs. Myocarditis was not observed in the absence of pancreatitis. The results obtained by inoculation of mice with strains of other CVB serotypes were consistent with these data. Infectious virus titers were measured in serum, pancreas, and heart as a function of time after inoculation of mice with three CVB3 strains. Each strain was representative of one of the three viral virulence phenotypes: avirulent, pancreovirulent only, and cardiovirulent. All strains replicated well and persisted in the pancreas through 8 days post-inoculation, but the cardiovirulent CVB3 strain tended to replicate to higher titer earlier and persist longer in sera, pancreatic, and cardiac tissues than the noncardiovirulent strains. Replication of the CVB3 strains were studied in two human pancreatic tumor lines and in primary human endothelial cell cultures derived from cardiac artery. Cardiovirulent strains, both individually and as a group, tended to replicate to titers as high as, or higher than, noncardiovirulent strains did in cell culture. The data are consistent with the possibility of an etiologic link between CVB-induced pancreatic and heart disease.


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Journal of medical virology



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