Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 28602914
Microbes Infect. 2017 Sep - Oct;19(9-10):476-484
In the field of live viral vaccines production, there is an unmet need for in vitro tests complying a 3R approach (Refine, Replace and Reduce the use of animal experimentation) to replace the post-licensing safety tests currently assayed in animals. Here, we performed a pilot study evaluating whether virulence of rabies virus, RABV, can be forecast by an in vitro test of neurite outgrowth. The rationale to use neurite outgrowth as a read-out for this test is based on the salient property of the cytoplasmic domain of the G-protein (Cyto-G) of virulent RABV strains – not of attenuated RABV strains – to stimulate neurite outgrowth in vitro. We observed that neurite elongation triggered by the Cyto-Gs encoded by different RABV field isolates correlate with the distinct virulence scores obtained in a mouse model of experimental rabies. Our results cast the idea that it could be feasible to predict RABV virulence by testing the in vitro property of a RABV strain to promote neurite outgrowth without the use of animal experimentation.