An animal model for studying the pathogenesis of chikungunya virus infection

Sarah A. Ziegler, Liang Lu, Amelia P.A. Travassos Da Rosa, Shu Yuan Xiao, Robert B. Tesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


Newborn and 14-day-old mice inoculated subcutaneously with chikungunya virus (CHIKV) developed lethargy, difficulty walking, dragging of hind limbs, and reduced weight gain within 7-10 days after infection (PI). During the initial 6-7 days PI, the animals had viremia; high levels (10 6-108 PFU) of CHIKV were also present in leg muscle. The virus persisted in muscle for several days after viremia disappeared. The major histopathologic changes were in skeletal muscle, which were focal necrosis and inflammation, followed by fibrosis and dystrophic calcification. Some mice also showed dystrophic calcification in the joint cartilage, but there were few deaths, and most of the animals eventually recovered. CHIKV antigen was shown by immunohistochemistry in the muscle for several weeks after infection. Based on the clinical and pathologic similarities with CHIKV infection in humans, young ICR and CD-1 mice offer a useful and realistic model for further study of the pathogenesis and treatment of CHIKV infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-139
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology
  • Parasitology


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