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A Novel Small Animal Model of Norovirus Diarrhea

By Alexa N Roth, Emily W Helm, Carmen Mirabelli, Erin Kirsche, Jonathan C. Smith, Laura B Eurell, Sourish Ghosh, Nihal Altan-Bonnet, Christiane E. Wobus, Stephanie M. Karst

Posted 20 Mar 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.19.999185

Human noroviruses are the leading cause of severe childhood diarrhea worldwide yet we know very little about their pathogenic mechanisms. Murine noroviruses cause diarrhea in interferon-deficient adult mice but these hosts also develop systemic pathology and lethality, reducing confidence in the translatability of findings to human norovirus disease. Herein we report that a murine norovirus causes self-resolving diarrhea in the absence of systemic disease in wild-type neonatal mice, thus mirroring the key features of human norovirus disease and representing a robust norovirus small animal disease model. Intriguingly, lymphocytes are critical for controlling acute norovirus replication while simultaneously contributing to disease severity, likely reflecting their dual role as targets of viral infection and key components of the host response.

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