The early pathogenic effects of bovine immunodeficiency-like virus (BIV) were studied in calves experimentally inoculated with BIV. All animals inoculated with BIV R29-infected cells seroconverted by 6 weeks postinoculation, and BIV was recoverable from each animal at 2 weeks postinoculation. However, levels of BIV replication in vivo appeared to be low. In situ hybridization studies indicated that during peak periods of viral replication in vivo, less than 0.03% of peripheral blood mononuclear cells were expressing detectable levels of viral RNA. Moreover, the levels of viral RNA in these cells in vivo were less than 1/10 the levels observed in persistently infected cells in vitro. BIV-inoculated calves had significantly higher numbers of circulating lymphocytes, and follicular hyperplasia was observed in lymph nodes, hemal nodes, and spleen. The histopathological changes observed in BIV-infected calves were similar to changes found early after infection with the immunosuppressive lentiviruses, including human immunodeficiency virus type 1.
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