Pathogenesis of Human Poliovirus Infection in Mice: II. Age-Dependency of Paralysis

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The mechanism of resistance of newborn mice to poliovirus-induced paralysis was studied by comparing regional virus replication in the adult and in the newborn central nervous systems (CNS) after intracerebral (ic) and intraspinal inoculation. Initial virus replication in the brains was similar in both age groups. Paralysis correlated with replication of virus in the spinal cord to a constant threshold, and this replication in newborns was delayed. Intraspinal inoculation of new-borns eliminated the delay, indicating that neonatal anterior horn motor neurons were fully susceptible to infection. Cordectomy prevented the spread of virus, despite patent cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pathways. Thus, poliovirus appeared to spread within the CNS via an axonal transport system. Known maturational changes in the fast transport system may explain the relative resistance of immature mice to poliovirus-induced paralysis.

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