Experimental Lassa virus infection in the squirrel monkey

D. H. Walker, H. Wulff, F. A. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Experimental Lassa virus infection was investigated in a nonhuman primate in order to elucidate the target organs of the viral infection and the course of pathologic events. Four squirrel monkeys (Saimiri scirreus) were inoculated intramuscularly with Lassa virus and sacrificed for organ titrations and histopathology, one each day, on Day 7, 12, 14, and 28 after inoculation. The animals showed a variable clinical course, with an incubation period of 8 to 18 days. The virus was demonstrated to be virtually pantropic; however, lymph node, liver, and kidney were key early targets. After the onset of overt disease, patterns of lymphoreticulotropism, hepatotropism, nephrotropism, adrenotropism, and persistent viremia were evident. Complement fixing antibody failed to develop after 28 days of infection. Histopathologic findings included germinal center necrosis in spleen and lymph node; myocarditis; acute arteritis; renal tubular necrosis and regeneration; hepatocytic regeneration; chronic inflammation of choroid plexus, ependyma, and meninges; and cerebral perivascular cuffing. There is a relation between many of these lesions and certain features of other arenavirus infections. The model offers the opportunity to pursue investigations of experimental pathogenesis, transmissibility, and efficacy of immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-278
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1975
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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