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An Experimental Model for Dilated Cardiomyopathy after Rabbit Coronavirus Infection

Lorraine K. Alexander, J. David Small, Suzanne Edwards and Ralph S. Baric
The Journal of Infectious Diseases
Vol. 166, No. 5 (Nov., 1992), pp. 978-985
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30113367
Page Count: 8
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An Experimental Model for Dilated Cardiomyopathy after Rabbit Coronavirus Infection
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Abstract

A rabbit model for coronavirus-induced dilated cardiomyopathy is described. Acute rabbit coronavirus infection results in virus-induced myocarditis and congestive heart failure. Of the survivors of rabbit coronavirus infection, 41% had increased heart weight and heart weight-to-body weight ratios, biventricular dilation, myocyte hypertrophy, myocardial fibrosis, and myocarditis consistent with the development of dilated cardiomyopathy. These changes were also seen in the remaining 59% of the survivors, except that the degree of myocyte hypertrophy was reduced and only right ventricular dilation was present. In most survivors, myocarditis was usually mild (1-5 foci/transverse section), but in some cases it was severe (> 20 foci/transverse section). Interstitial and replacement fibrosis was more pronounced in the papillary muscles. These data suggest that rabbit coronavirus infection may progress to dilated cardiomyopathy.

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