Experimental model of type II bovine viral diarrhea virus-induced thrombocytopenia in neonatal calves


Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1314, USA.

Thrombocytopenia has been associated with type II bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) infection in immunocompetent cattle, but the mechanism is unknown. The purpose of the present study was to develop and characterize a model of type II BVDV-induced thrombocytopenia. Colostrum-deprived Holstein calves were obtained immediately after birth, given a BVDV-negative and BVDV antibody-negative plasma transfusion, housed in an isolation facility, and randomly assigned to either control (n = 4) or infected (n = 5) groups. Infected calves were inoculated by intranasal instillation on day 3 of age with 10(7) TCID50 of the prototype type II isolate, BVDV 890, whereas control calves were sham inoculated. Blood counts and virus isolations from serum, white blood cells, and platelets were performed daily until day 12 after infection, at which time all experimental calves were euthanatized, and pathologic, virologic, and immunohistochemical examinations were performed. On physical examination, the control calves remained normal, but the infected calves developed pyrexia and diarrhea characteristic of type II BVDV infection. The platelet count decreased in all infected calves, and a statistically significant difference in the platelet count between control and infected calves was observed on days 7-12 after infection. In addition, the mean platelet volume and white blood cell counts also decreased. Examination of the bone marrow from the infected calves revealed immunohistochemical staining for BVDV antigen in megakaryocytes and evidence of concurrent megakaryocyte necrosis and hyperplasia.


Walz PH, Bell TG, Steficek BA, Kaiser L, et al.: J Vet Diagn Invest 11: 505-514, 1999.