Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 10364364
J. Virol. 1999 Jul;73(7):6093-8
Following intracerebral inoculation, the DA strain of Theiler’s virus sequentially infects neurons in the gray matter and glial cells in the white matter of the spinal cord. It persists in the latter throughout the life of the animal. Several observations suggest that the virus spreads from the gray to the white matter by axonal transport. In contrast, the neurovirulent GDVII strain causes a fatal encephalitis with lytic infection of neurons. It does not infect the white matter of the spinal cord efficiently and does not persist in survivors. The inability of this virus to infect the white matter could be due to a defect in axonal transport. Using footpad inoculations, we showed that the GDVII strain is, in fact, transported in axons. Transport was prevented by sectioning the sciatic nerve. The kinetics of transport and experiments using colchicine suggested that the virus uses microtubule-associated fast axonal transport. Our results show that a cardiovirus can spread by fast axonal transport and suggest that the inability of the GDVII strain to infect the white matter is not due to a defect in axonal transport.