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Disease manifestations of canine distemper virus infection in ferrets are modulated by vitamin A status.

Abstract : The measles virus (MV) causes half a million childhood deaths annually. Vitamin A supplements significantly reduce measles-associated mortality and morbidity. The mechanisms whereby vitamin A acts against MV are not understood and currently there is no satisfactory small animal model for MV infection. We report on the development of a ferret model to study antiviral activity of vitamin A against canine distemper virus (CDV). CDV is closely related to MV at the molecular level and distemper in ferrets mimics measles in humans. We infected vitamin A-replete (control) and vitamin A-depleted ferrets with CDV and assessed the ability of high-dose vitamin A supplements to influence CDV disease. In control ferrets, CDV infection caused fever, rash, conjunctivitis, cough, coryza, and diarrhea. In contrast, control ferrets that were given 30 mg of vitamin A did not develop typical distemper after infection and exhibited only a mild rash. The supplement did not negatively affect ferret health and resulted in a 100% increase in serum and liver vitamin A concentrations. We also found that profound vitamin A deficiency is inducible in ferrets and can be rapidly reversed upon high-dose vitamin A supplementation. Vitamin A deficiency caused anorexia, diarrhea, cataracts, behavioral abnormalities, and ultimately death, with or without CDV infection. All ferrets that received vitamin A supplements, however, recovered uneventfully from CDV infection. These results replicate many aspects of the observations of vitamin A therapy in humans with measles and suggest that CDV infection in ferrets is an appropriate model for the study of the antiviral mechanism of vitamin A.
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Contributor : Charles M. Dozois Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 10:16:06 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 18, 2020 - 12:32:04 PM

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Carey Rodeheffer, Veronika von Messling, Sylvain Milot, François Lepine, Amee R Manges, et al.. Disease manifestations of canine distemper virus infection in ferrets are modulated by vitamin A status.. Journal of Nutrition, 2007, 137 (8), pp.1916-22. ⟨10.1093/jn/137.8.1916⟩. ⟨pasteur-00819994⟩



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