Experimental encephalomyocarditis virus infection in pregnant mice

Yumi Nakayama, Weiping Su, Atsuko Ohguchi, Hiroyuki Nakayama, Kunio Doi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The present study was carried out to clarify the mode of encephalomyocarditis (EMC) virus infection in pregnant mice. Pregnant BALB/c mice were intraperitoneally inoculated with the D variant of EMC virus (EMC-D) (5 × 102 PFU/mouse) on 11 days of gestation and killed at 1, 3, and 5 days post-inoculation (DPI). The virus titer (dam's serum, placenta, and fetus), histopathology (fetus, placenta, and uterus), distribution of viral RNA (fetus, placenta and uterus), and ultrastructure (fetal heart and placenta) were examined. No deaths occurred to fetuses at 1 DPI but almost all fetuses died at 5 DPI. The virus titers of dam's serum and placenta were elevated at 1 DPI, peaked at 3 DPI, and the former was not detected at 5 DPI. The virus titer of fetus was first elevated at 3 DPI and the level was lower than those of others. Histopathological changes and signals of viral RNAs detected by in situ hybridization (ISH) were observed in the spongiotrophoblast layer of placenta and in the fetal myocardium and liver at 3 DPI. The uterus was free from lesions and signals of viral RNA. Ultrastructural changes developed in trophoblast cells and giant cells in the spongiotrophoblast layer at and after 1 DPI and in fetal myocardial cells at 3 DPI. In the cytoplasm of trophoblast cells and giant cells, aggregations of virus-like particles 20-30 nm in diameter were observed in crystalline array. These results suggest that trophoblast cells and giant cells in the spongiotrophoblast layer are the main target of EMC virus in the placenta and that placental damage as well as the direct effect of virus to fetuses may be a cause of fetal death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-137
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental and Molecular Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • EMC virus
  • Fetus
  • Placenta
  • Pregnant mice
  • Ultrastructure
  • Virus replication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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