BACKGROUND: The henipaviruses, Hendra virus (HeV) and Nipah virus (NiV), are capable of causing severe and often lethal respiratory and/or neurologic disease in animals and humans. Given the sporadic nature of henipavirus outbreaks, licensure of vaccines and therapeutics for human use will likely require demonstration of efficacy in animal models that faithfully reproduce the human condition. Currently, the African green monkey (AGM) best mimics human henipavirus-induced disease.
METHODS: The pathogenic potential of HeV and both strains of NiV (Malaysia, Bangladesh) was assessed in cynomolgus monkeys and compared with henipavirus-infected historical control AGMs. Multiplex gene and protein expression assays were employed to compare host responses.
RESULTS: In contrast to AGMs where henipaviruses cause severe and usually lethal disease, HeV and NiVs caused only mild or asymptomatic infections in macaques. All henipaviruses replicated in macaques with similar kinetics as in AGMs. Infection in macaques was associated with activation and predicted recruitment of cytotoxic CD8+ T cells, Th1 cells, IgM+ B cells, and plasma cells. Conversely, fatal outcome in AGMs was associated with aberrant innate immune signaling, complement dysregulation, Th2 skewing, and increased secretion of MCP-1.
CONCLUSION: The restriction factors identified in macaques can be harnessed for development of effective countermeasures against henipavirus disease.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.