Characterization In Vitro and In Vivo of a pandemic H1N1 Influenza virus from a fatal case

Citation: Rodriguez A, Falcon A, Cuevas MT, Pozo F, Guerra S, et al. (2013) Characterization In Vitro and In Vivo of a Pandemic H1N1 Influenza Virus from a Fatal Case. PLoS ONE 8(1): e53515. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053515
Published: January 10, 2013

Pandemic 2009 H1N1 (pH1N1) influenza viruses caused mild symptoms in most infected patients. However, a greater rate of severe disease was observed in healthy young adults and children without co-morbid conditions. Here we tested whether influenza strains displaying differential virulence could be present among circulating pH1N1 viruses. The biological properties and the genotype of viruses isolated from a patient showing mild disease (M) or from a fatal case (F), both without known co-morbid conditions were compared in vitro and in vivo. The F virus presented faster growth kinetics and stronger induction of cytokines than M virus in human alveolar lung epithelial cells. In the murine model in vivo, the F virus showed a stronger morbidity and mortality than M virus. Remarkably, a higher proportion of mice presenting infectious virus in the hearts, was found in F virus-infected animals. Altogether, the data indicate that strains of pH1N1 virus with enhanced pathogenicity circulated during the 2009 pandemic. In addition, examination of chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5) genotype, recently reported as involved in severe influenza virus disease, revealed that the F virus-infected patient was homozygous for the deleted form of CCR5 receptor (CCR5Δ32).

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