Restraint stress facilitates systemic dissemination of Theiler's virus and alters its pathogenecity

Wentao Mi, Colin R. Young, Ralph W. Storts, Andrew J. Steelman, Mary W. Meagher, C. Jane R Welsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV), a Picornavirus used as a viral model for multiple sclerosis (MS), causes an acute encephalomyelitis and chronic demyelination. The failure to clear the virus, which can result from stress, is a prerequisite for development of the later disease. Similarly, stressful life events have been associated with the development of MS. In the present study, a restraint stress (RS) model was used to investigate the effect of stress on the systemic dissemination of TMEV during the early stage of disease. Experimental data demonstrated that repeated RS remarkably facilitated the spread of virus from the CNS to such systemic organs as the spleen, lymph nodes, thymus, lungs and heart and compromised the ability of viral clearance within those tissues. RS also altered the pathogenecity of TMEV, enabling it to become cardiotropic, resulting in higher myocardial infectivity. These results demonstrate the profound impact that RS has upon both the tissue and organ dissemination of the virus, and the organ tropism of TMEV. An additional finding associated with stress was hepatic necrosis in the restrained animals, regardless of whether or not they were infected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-143
Number of pages11
JournalMicrobial Pathogenesis
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • Dissemination
  • Pathogenecity
  • Restraint stress
  • Theiler's virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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