Equine herpesvirus-1 infected peripheral blood mononuclear cell subpopulations during viremia

S. Wilsterman, G. Soboll-Hussey, D. P. Lunn, L. V. Ashton, R. J. Callan, S. B. Hussey, S. Rao, L. S. Goehring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Infection with equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) causes respiratory disease, late term abortions and equine herpesvirus myeloencephalitis (EHM) and remains an important problem in horses worldwide. Despite increasing outbreaks of EHM in recent years, our understanding of EHM pathogenesis is still limited except for the knowledge that a cell-associated viremia in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) is a critical link between primary respiratory EHV-1 infection and secondary complications such as late-term abortion or EHM. To address this question our objective was to identify which PBMC subpopulation(s) are infected during viremia and may therefore play a role in transmitting the virus to the vascular endothelium of the spinal cord or pregnant uterus. PBMCs from 3 groups of animals were collected between days 4 and 9 following experimental infection with EHV-1 strain Findlay/OH03 or strain Ab4. PBMCs were labeled with primary antibodies selective for CD4+ or CD8+ T lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes, or monocytes and positively selected using magnetic bead separation. Cell numbers and EHV-1 genome numbers in each subpopulation were then determined using quantitative PCR for β-actin and the EHV-1 glycoprotein B, respectively. Viral genomic DNA was found in all PBMC subpopulations; the CD8+ lymphocytes were most frequently positive for viral DNA, followed by B-lymphocytes. These differences were statistically significant in horses infected with the EHV-1 strain Findlay/OH03, and ponies with Ab4. These results differ from what has been reported in in vitro studies, and indicate that different PBMC subpopulations may play different roles in EHV-1 viremia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-47
Number of pages8
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 21 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by a grant from the Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation , and by a grant from the Colorado State University , CVMBS College Research Council .


  • Cell subsets
  • EHV-1
  • Quantitative PCR
  • Viremia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Veterinary (all)


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