Development and characterization of a mouse model for Marburg hemorrhagic fever. Academic Article uri icon

start page

  • 6404

end page

  • 6415


  • The lack of a mouse model has hampered an understanding of the pathogenesis and immunity of Marburg hemorrhagic fever (MHF), the disease caused by marburgvirus (MARV), and has created a bottleneck in the development of antiviral therapeutics. Primary isolates of the filoviruses, i.e., ebolavirus (EBOV) and MARV, are not lethal to immunocompetent adult mice. Previously, pathological, virologic, and immunologic evaluation of a mouse-adapted EBOV, developed by sequential passages in suckling mice, identified many similarities between this model and EBOV infections in nonhuman primates. We recently demonstrated that serially passaging virus recovered from the liver homogenates of MARV-infected immunodeficient (SCID) mice was highly successful in reducing the time to death in these mice from 50 to 70 days to 7 to 10 days after challenge with the isolate MARV-Ci67, -Musoke, or -Ravn. In this study, we extended our findings to show that further sequential passages of MARV-Ravn in immunocompetent mice caused the MARV to kill BALB/c mice. Serial sampling studies to characterize the pathology of mouse-adapted MARV-Ravn revealed that this model is similar to the guinea pig and nonhuman primate MHF models. Infection of BALB/c mice with mouse-adapted MARV-Ravn caused uncontrolled viremia and high viral titers in the liver, spleen, lymph node, and other organs; profound lymphopenia; destruction of lymphocytes within the spleen and lymph nodes; and marked liver damage and thrombocytopenia. Sequencing the mouse-adapted MARV-Ravn strain revealed differences in 16 predicted amino acids from the progenitor virus, although the exact changes required for adaptation are unclear at this time. This mouse-adapted MARV strain can now be used to develop and evaluate novel vaccines and therapeutics and may also help to provide a better understanding of the virulence factors associated with MARV.

date/time value

  • 2009

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1128/JVI.00126-09

PubMed Identifier

  • 19369350


  • 83


  • 13


  • Animals
  • Cercopithecus aethiops
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Liver
  • Male
  • Marburg Virus Disease
  • Marburgvirus
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • RNA, Viral
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Serial Passage
  • Spleen
  • Vero Cells