Morphological studies in a model for dengue-2 virus infection in mice.


One of the main difficulties in studying dengue virus infection in humans and in developing a vaccine is the absence of a suitable animal model which develops the full spectrum of dengue fever, dengue haemorrhagic fever, and dengue shock syndrome. It is our proposal to present morphological aspects of an animal model which shows many similarities with the dengue infection in humans. BALB/c mice were intraperitoneally infected with non-neuroadapted dengue virus serotype 2 (DENV-2). Histopathological and morphometrical analyses of liver tissue revealed focal alterations along the infection, reaching wide-ranging portal and centrolobular veins congestion and sinusoidal cell death. Additional ultrastructural observations demonstrated multifocal endothelial injury, platelet recruitment, and alterated hepatocytes. Dengue virus antigen was detected in hepatocytes and in the capillar endothelium of the central lobular vein area. Liver function tests showed high levels of aspartate transaminase and alanine transaminase enzyme activity. Lung tissue showed interstitial pneumonia and mononuclear cells, interseptal oedema, hyperplasia, and hypertrophy of the bronchiolar epithelial cells. DENV-2 led to a transient inflammatory process, but caused focal alterations of the blood-exchange barrier. Viremia was observed from 2nd to 11th day p.i. by isolation of DENV-2 in C6/36 mosquito cell line inoculated with the supernatant of macerated liver, lung, kidney, and cerebellum tissues of the infected mice.