Research: In-vivo Abortion Model of EHV-1

Share published a special issue of the American Journal of Reproductive Immunology. The special issue contained the speakers’ abstracts from the 34th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Immunology, which was held June, 2-5, 2014, in Long Beach, New York. A downloadable PDF of the abstracts is available.

On page 8 of the abstracts was the paper entitled “Development of an in-vivo equine herpesvirus-1 abortion model.”


“Equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) continues to cause both sporadic and epidemic abortions primarily in the third trimester of pregnancy. Despite the significant impact of EHV-1 abortions, equine models employing current technology to characterize the outcomes of challenge infections are lacking. The objective of the current study was to develop an equine model of experimental EHV-1 abortion and use real time quantitative PCR to characterize viral infection of the placenta and fetus. Challenges with two different viral strains of EHV-1 were conducted in 7 pregnant pony mares at the 9th month of gestation. For each challenge, pregnancy was synchronized in ponies to one of two consecutive heat cycles by use of oral progestagens, hormonal therapy, and natural breeding. Prior to and subsequent to challenge infection all ponies were subject to clinical examination, nasal swab and blood leukocyte sampling for detection of EHV-1 infection, and sampling of any aborted fetus and placenta. All mares in both groups exhibited nasal viral shedding and viremia. Infection resulted in 1/7 (strain OH03) abortion and 5/7 abortions (strain Ab4) respectively. Aborted fetuses expressed high levels of virus infection in the spleen and liver, lower levels in the lung and thymus, and lowest levels in the chorioallantois. In the two normal deliveries of the Ab4 infected mares, the chorioallantois contained virus levels comparable with the chorioallantois of aborted foals and both foals shed EHV-1 starting on day 4 of life, but were clinically healthy. Our established in-vivo model will facilitate the evaluation and development of vaccines for protection against EHV-1, as well as permit for studies aimed at understanding immunological processes and pathogenesis at the fetal/ maternal interface. Furthermore, our results demonstrate the continued importance of strain selection for EHV-1 abortion models.”


G. Soboll Hussey, Michigan State University; S.B. Hussey, Michigan State University; D.W. Gardiner, CVMBS, Colorado State University; D.P. Lunn, North Carolina State University; K. Osterrieder, Freie University at Berlin, Germany; Y-W Chiang, Fort Dodge Animal Health; P. McCue, CVMBS, Colorado State University; F Del Piero, Pathobiological Sciences, Louisiana State University.

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