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Affinity (tropism) of caprine arthritis encephalitis virus for brain cells

IA Adebayo
TAM Awoniyi
OD Olaleye


One of the constraints in unraveling the mysteries blurring the advancement of research in the quest to totally put HIV problems under control is getting the appropriate animal model that would truly simulate
human cases. This problem is more apparent in studies involving the central nervous system. Consequently, a viable animal model to generate information for the production of drugs and vaccines
for the prevention and or control of lentiviral induced dementia in affected host animals is pertinent and vital. In this study, explant cultures prepared from the brain of new-born goat-kid were infected with
Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) virus- a retrovirus affecting goats. The specific brain cell types infected by the (CAE) virus were determined using reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RTPCR) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM techniques). TEM showed that in 85 – 90% cases, microglia were the cells specifically infected by the virus. Amplification of the genomic sequence of the
envelope and the gag genes by RT-PCR confirmed the presence of CAEV proviral DNA in the brain cells of affected animals. No productive infection of the astrocytes was observed. The results of this study
showed a lot of similarities in the tropism of CAE virus infection of goat brain cells to that of HIV infection in humans thus suggesting the potential usefulness of the caprine model for the study of HIV
neuropathology. The goat model system as a non-primate model therefore could be more adaptable as a simple animal model than primate models with their complexity of anthropological, environmental and safety problems.