Intracerebral hemorrhages and syncytium formation induced by endothelial cell infection with a murine leukemia virus

Ben Ho Park, Ehud Lavi, Kenneth J. Blank, Glen N. Gaulton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The mechanisms of endothelial cell damage that lead to cerebral hemorrhage are not completely understood. In this study, a cloned murine retrovirus, TR1.3, that uniformly induced stroke in neonatal BALB/c mice is described. Restriction digest mapping suggests that TR1.3 is part of the Friend murine leukemia virus (FMuLV) family. However, unlike mice exposed to other FMuLVs, mice infected with TR1.3 virus developed tremors and seizures within 8 to 18 days postinoculation. This was uniformly followed by paralysis and death within 1 to 2 days. Postmortem examination of TR1.3-inoculated mice revealed edematous brain tissue with large areas of intracerebral hemorrhage. Histologic analysis revealed prominent small vessel pathology including syncytium formation of endothelial cells. Immunohistochemical analysis of frozen brain sections using double fluorescence staining demonstrated that TR1.3 virus specifically infected small vessel endothelial cells. Although infection of vessel endothelial cells was detected in several organs, only brain endothelial cells displayed viral infection associated with hemorrhage. The primary determinant of TR1.3-induced neuropathogenicity was found to reside within a 3.0-kb fragment containing the 3′ end of the pol gene, the env gene, and the U3 region of the long terminal repeat. The restricted tropism and acute pathogenicity of this cloned murine retrovirus provide a model for studying virus-induced stroke and for elucidating the mechanisms involved in syncytium formation by retroviruses in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6015-6024
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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