Prior to the adoption of widespread vaccination programs, mumps virus was the leading cause of virus-induced central nervous system (CNS) disease. Mumps virus-associated CNS complications in vaccinees continue to be reported; outside the United States, some of these complications have been attributed to vaccination with insufficiently attenuated neurovirulent vaccine strains. The development of potentially neurovirulent, live, attenuated mumps virus vaccines stems largely from the lack of an animal model that can reliably predict the neurovirulence of mumps virus vaccine candidates in humans. The lack of an effective safety test with which to measure mumps virus neurovirulence has also hindered analysis of the neuropathogenesis of mumps virus infection and the identification of molecular determinants of neurovirulence. In this report we show, for the first time, that mumps virus infection of the neonatal rat leads to developmental abnormalities in the cerebellum due to cerebellar granule cell migration defects. The incidence of the cerebellar abnormalities and other neuropathological and clinical outcomes of mumps virus infection of the neonatal rat brain demonstrated the ability of this model to distinguish neurovirulent (Kilham) from nonneurovirulent (Jeryl Lynn) mumps virus strains. Thus, this neonatal rat model may prove useful in evaluating the neurovirulence potential of new live, attenuated vaccine strains and may also be of value in elucidating the molecular basis of mumps virus neurovirulence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science