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1.  New Aspects of the Pathogenesis of Canine Distemper Leukoencephalitis 
Viruses  2014;6(7):2571-2601.
Canine distemper virus (CDV) is a member of the genus morbillivirus, which is known to cause a variety of disorders in dogs including demyelinating leukoencephalitis (CDV-DL). In recent years, substantial progress in understanding the pathogenetic mechanisms of CDV-DL has been made. In vivo and in vitro investigations provided new insights into its pathogenesis with special emphasis on axon-myelin-glia interaction, potential endogenous mechanisms of regeneration, and astroglial plasticity. CDV-DL is characterized by lesions with a variable degree of demyelination and mononuclear inflammation accompanied by a dysregulated orchestration of cytokines as well as matrix metalloproteinases and their inhibitors. Despite decades of research, several new aspects of the neuropathogenesis of CDV-DL have been described only recently. Early axonal damage seems to represent an initial and progressive lesion in CDV-DL, which interestingly precedes demyelination. Axonopathy may, thus, function as a potential trigger for subsequent disturbed axon-myelin-glia interactions. In particular, the detection of early axonal damage suggests that demyelination is at least in part a secondary event in CDV-DL, thus challenging the dogma of CDV as a purely primary demyelinating disease. Another unexpected finding refers to the appearance of p75 neurotrophin (NTR)-positive bipolar cells during CDV-DL. As p75NTR is a prototype marker for immature Schwann cells, this finding suggests that Schwann cell remyelination might represent a so far underestimated endogenous mechanism of regeneration, though this hypothesis still remains to be proven. Although it is well known that astrocytes represent the major target of CDV infection in CDV-DL, the detection of infected vimentin-positive astrocytes in chronic lesions indicates a crucial role of this cell population in nervous distemper. While glial fibrillary acidic protein represents the characteristic intermediate filament of mature astrocytes, expression of vimentin is generally restricted to immature or reactive astrocytes. Thus, vimentin-positive astrocytes might constitute an important cell population for CDV persistence and spread, as well as lesion progression. In vitro models, such as dissociated glial cell cultures, as well as organotypic brain slice cultures have contributed to a better insight into mechanisms of infection and certain morphological and molecular aspects of CDV-DL. Summarized, recent in vivo and in vitro studies revealed remarkable new aspects of nervous distemper. These new perceptions substantially improved our understanding of the pathogenesis of CDV-DL and might represent new starting points to develop novel treatment strategies.
doi:10.3390/v6072571
PMCID: PMC4113784  PMID: 24992230
axon; canine distemper virus; central nervous system; cytokine; distemper leukoencephalitis; immature astrocyte; matrix metalloproteinase; p75 neurotrophin receptor; Schwann cell; vimentin
2.  Viral Oncolysis — Can Insights from Measles Be Transferred to Canine Distemper Virus? 
Viruses  2014;6(6):2340-2375.
Neoplastic diseases represent one of the most common causes of death among humans and animals. Currently available and applied therapeutic options often remain insufficient and unsatisfactory, therefore new and innovative strategies and approaches are highly needed. Periodically, oncolytic viruses have been in the center of interest since the first anecdotal description of their potential usefulness as an anti-tumor treatment concept. Though first reports referred to an incidental measles virus infection causing tumor regression in a patient suffering from lymphoma several decades ago, no final treatment concept has been developed since then. However, numerous viruses, such as herpes-, adeno- and paramyxoviruses, have been investigated, characterized, and modified with the aim to generate a new anti-cancer treatment option. Among the different viruses, measles virus still represents a highly interesting candidate for such an approach. Numerous different tumors of humans including malignant lymphoma, lung and colorectal adenocarcinoma, mesothelioma, and ovarian cancer, have been studied in vitro and in vivo as potential targets. Moreover, several concepts using different virus preparations are now in clinical trials in humans and may proceed to a new treatment option. Surprisingly, only few studies have investigated viral oncolysis in veterinary medicine. The close relationship between measles virus (MV) and canine distemper virus (CDV), both are morbilliviruses, and the fact that numerous tumors in dogs exhibit similarities to their human counterpart, indicates that both the virus and species dog represent a highly interesting translational model for future research in viral oncolysis. Several recent studies support such an assumption. It is therefore the aim of the present communication to outline the mechanisms of morbillivirus-mediated oncolysis and to stimulate further research in this potentially expanding field of viral oncolysis in a highly suitable translational animal model for the benefit of humans and dogs.
doi:10.3390/v6062340
PMCID: PMC4074931  PMID: 24921409
canine distemper virus; measles virus; tumor treatment; viral oncolysis
3.  Transcriptional Changes in Canine Distemper Virus-Induced Demyelinating Leukoencephalitis Favor a Biphasic Mode of Demyelination 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95917.
Canine distemper virus (CDV)-induced demyelinating leukoencephalitis in dogs (Canis familiaris) is suggested to represent a naturally occurring translational model for subacute sclerosing panencephalitis and multiple sclerosis in humans. The aim of this study was a hypothesis-free microarray analysis of the transcriptional changes within cerebellar specimens of five cases of acute, six cases of subacute demyelinating, and three cases of chronic demyelinating and inflammatory CDV leukoencephalitis as compared to twelve non-infected control dogs. Frozen cerebellar specimens were used for analysis of histopathological changes including demyelination, transcriptional changes employing microarrays, and presence of CDV nucleoprotein RNA and protein using microarrays, RT-qPCR and immunohistochemistry. Microarray analysis revealed 780 differentially expressed probe sets. The dominating change was an up-regulation of genes related to the innate and the humoral immune response, and less distinct the cytotoxic T-cell-mediated immune response in all subtypes of CDV leukoencephalitis as compared to controls. Multiple myelin genes including myelin basic protein and proteolipid protein displayed a selective down-regulation in subacute CDV leukoencephalitis, suggestive of an oligodendrocyte dystrophy. In contrast, a marked up-regulation of multiple immunoglobulin-like expressed sequence tags and the delta polypeptide of the CD3 antigen was observed in chronic CDV leukoencephalitis, in agreement with the hypothesis of an immune-mediated demyelination in the late inflammatory phase of the disease. Analysis of pathways intimately linked to demyelination as determined by morphometry employing correlation-based Gene Set Enrichment Analysis highlighted the pathomechanistic importance of up-regulated genes comprised by the gene ontology terms “viral replication” and “humoral immune response” as well as down-regulated genes functionally related to “metabolite and energy generation”.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0095917
PMCID: PMC3995819  PMID: 24755553
4.  Distemper in a Dolphin 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2007;13(12):1959-1961.
doi:10.3201/eid1312.070309
PMCID: PMC2876748  PMID: 18258062
Dolphin; distemper; morbillivirus; encephalitis; letter

Results 1-4 (4)