Viral teratogenesis: Brain developmental damage associated with maturation state at time of infection

Steven A. Rubin, Jan R. Bautista, Timothy H. Moran, Gary J. Schwartz, Kathryn M. Carbone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The rat brain continues to mature after birth and is particularly vulnerable to developmental damage following perinatal insult. Borna disease virus (BDV) infection of postnatal day one (PND-1) rat brain causes a non- encephalitic, persistent infection associated with developmental neuroanatomical and behavioral abnormalities. To test the hypothesis that BDV infection during different brain developmental stages yields variable pathological and clinical disease sequelae, rats were examined for BDV- induced neuroanatomical and behavioral abnormalities following inoculation with BDV on PND-15, and the findings were compared to those resulting from inoculation on PND-1. Similar to rats inoculated with BDV on PND-1, PND-15 inoculated rats developed a persistent infection associated with body weight stunting, abnormal salt taste preference and hippocampal neuron degeneration. However, unlike rats infected with BDV on PND-1, PND-15 inoculated rats did not show signs of cerebellar hypoplasia or hyperactivity. Thus, the risk of BDV-induced damage to specific brain regions, and their associated behaviors, appears, in part, dependent upon the brain's developmental stage at time of BDV-infection. These studies provide evidence of the selective vulnerability of specific neuroanatomic regions and behaviors in developing nervous system to virus-induced damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-244
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopmental Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 5 1999


  • Borna disease
  • Brain
  • Damage
  • Development
  • Virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology


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