Indexed on: 15 Jun '07Published on: 15 Jun '07Published in: Archives of Virology
Although winter dysentery (WD), which is caused by the bovine coronavirus (BCoV) is characterized by the sudden onset of diarrhea in many adult cattle in a herd, the pathogenesis of the WD-BCoV is not completely understood. In this study, colostrum-deprived calves were experimentally infected with a Korean WD-BCoV strain and examined for viremia, enteric and nasal virus shedding as well as for viral antigen expression and virus-associated lesions in the small and large intestines and the upper and lower respiratory tract from 1 to 8 days after an oral infection. The WD-BCoV-inoculated calves showed gradual villous atrophy in the small intestine and a gradual increase in the crypt depth of the large intestine. The WD-BCoV-infected animals showed epithelial damage in nasal turbinates, trachea and lungs, and interstitial pneumonia. The WD-BCoV antigen was detected in the epithelium of the small and large intestines, nasal turbinates, trachea and lungs. WD-BCoV RNA was detected in the serum from post-inoculation day 3. These results show that the WD-BCoV has dual tropism and induces pathological changes in both the digestive and respiratory tracts of calves. To our knowledge, this is the first detailed report of dual enteric and respiratory tropisms of WD-BCoV in calves. Comprehensive studies of the dual tissue pathogenesis of the BCoV might contribute to an increased understanding of similar pneumoenteric CoV infections in humans.