Distribution of bovine viral diarrhea virus antigen in persistently infected white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)


Infection with bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV), analogous to that occuring in cattle, is reported rarely in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). This study evaluated the distribution of BVDV anigen in persistently infected (PI) white-tailed deer and compared the findings with those from PI cattle. Six PI fawns (four liveborn and two stillborn) from does exposed to experimentally to either BVDV-1 or BVDV-2 were evaluated. Distribution and intesity of antigen expression in tissues was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Data were analyzed in binary fashion with a proportional odds model. Viral antigen was distributed widely and was present in all 11 organ systems. Hepatobiliary, integumentary and reproductive systems were respectively 11.8, 15.4 and 21.6 times more likely to have higher antigen scores than the musculoskeletal system. Pronounced labeling occurred in epithelial tissues, which were 1.9e3.0 times likelier than other tissues to contain BVDV antigen. Antigen was present in>90% of samples of liver and skin, suggesting that skin biopsy samples are appropriate for BVDV diagnosis. Moderate to severe lymphoid depletion was detected and may hamper reliable detection of BVDV in lymphoid organs. Muscle tissue contained little antigen, except for in the cardiovascular system. Antigen was present infrequently in connective tissues. In nervous tissues, antigen expression frequency was 0.3e0.67. In the central nervous system (CNS), antigen was present in neurons and non-neuronal cells, including microglia, emphasizing that the CNS is a primary target for fetal BVDV infection. BVDV antigen distribution in PI white-tailed deer is similar to that in PI cattle.

Passler, T; Walz, H. L.; Ditchkoff, S. S.; et al.  

2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.