Farooqui, Amber and Leon, Alberto J. and Lei, Yanchang and Wang, Pusheng and Huang, Jianyun and Tenorio, Raquel and Dong, Wei and Rubino, Salvatore and Lin, Jie and Li, Guishuang and Zhao, Zhen and Kelvin, David J. (2012) Heterogeneous virulence of pandemic 2009 influenza H1N1 virus in mice. Virology Journal , in press. ISSN 1743-422X. Article.
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Understanding the pathogenesis of influenza infection is a key factor leading to the prevention and control of future outbreaks. Pandemic 2009 Influenza H1N1 infection,
although frequently mild, led to a severe and fatal form of disease in certain cases that make its virulence nature debatable. Much effort has been made toward explaining the determinants of disease severity; however, no absolute reason has been established.
This study presents the heterogeneous virulence of clinically similar strains of pandemic 2009 influenza virus in human alveolar adenocarcinoma cells and mice. The viruses were obtained from patients who were admitted in a local hospital in China with a similar course of infection and recovered. The A/Nanchang/8002/2009 and /Nanchang/8011/2009 viruses showed efficient replication and high lethality in mice while infection with
A/Nanchang/8008/2009 was not lethal with impaired viral replication, minimal pathology and modest proinflammatory activity in lungs. Sequence analysis displayed prominent
differences between polymerase subunits (PB2 and PA) of viral genomes that might correlate with their different phenotypic behavior.
The study confirms that biological heterogeneity, linked with the extent of viral replication, exists among pandemic H1N1 strains that may serve as a benchmark for future investigations on influenza pathogenesis.
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