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Infect Immun. 1981 August; 33(2): 565–574.
PMCID: PMC350737

Susceptibility of mice to rotavirus infection: effects of age and administration of corticosteroids.


We examined susceptibility to the murine rotavirus, epizootic diarrhea of infant mice virus (EDIM), in normal suckling and weaned mice and in suckling mice treated with glucocorticoids. Normal mice 1 to 40 days old were inoculated by gastrin intubation with high doses of EDIM and subsequently evaluated for rotavirus infection by solid-phase radioimmunoassay, by electron microscopy of intestinal tissue sections or by both. Radioimmunoassay and electron microscopy showed a concordance of 89.5% in the detection of rotavirus infection. After a period of low susceptibility to EDIM infection during the first 3 days after birth (23%), susceptibility was high for the next 11 days (95%), but decreased abruptly as mice approached weaning (41% on days 15 through 17). Mice 34 days or older did not develop EDIM infection after inoculation, but rotavirus antigen was detected in 12% of uninoculated mothers nursing inoculated litters. Administration of cortisone acetate to 8-day-old mice induced partial intestinal maturation prematurely. At 3 to 6 days after cortisone acetate treatment, susceptibility to EDIM infection decreased to 60% compared with 94% in age-matched controls. Our data suggest (i) that susceptibility of mice to EDIM infection is age dependent, decreasing in concert with intestinal maturation, and (ii) that glucocorticoids, which induce premature partial intestinal maturation, modulate susceptibility of mice to EDIM.

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