Intrapreputial infection of young bulls with bovine herpesvirus type 1.2 (BHV-1.2): Acute balanoposthitis, latent infection and detection of viral DNA in regional neural and non-neural tissues 50 days after experimental reactivation

F. S F Vogel, E. F. Flores, R. Weiblen, E. R. Winkelmann, M. P. Moraes, J. F M Bragança

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23 Scopus citations


Venereal infection of bulls with bovine herpesvirus type 1.2 (BHV-1.2) may result in acute balanoposthitis followed by the establishment of latent infection, presumably in dorsal root nerve ganglia. We herein report the characterization of the acute and latent infection of young bulls with a Brazilian BHV-1.2 isolate and the investigation of neural and non-neural sites in which viral DNA persists during latent infection, i.e. 110 days after inoculation and 50 days after experimental reactivation. Intrapreputial inoculation of BHV-1.2 isolate SV-56/90 (106.5pfu per animal) resulted in severe balanoposthitis, characterized by redness of the penis and preputial mucosa, coalescent vesicles and fibrinous exsudate in all four infected bulls. Virus shedding was detected in preputial secretions and semen up to days 14 and 13 pi, respectively. Dexamethasone administration at day 60 pi led to reactivation of the infection in all animals, resulting in virus shedding in preputial secretions and/or in semen. At day 50 post-reactivation (pr), the animals were euthanized and regional tissues were collected for PCR and virus isolation. Viral DNA was consistently detected in the dorsal root ganglia of nerves genito-femoral (4/4) and obturator (4/4); frequently in the pudendal (3/4), sciatic (3/4) and rectal caudal nerve ganglia (2/3). In addition, viral DNA was detected in the pelvic sympathetic plexus of one bull and in regional lymph nodes (deep inguinal (2/4); sacral (1/4); medial iliac (1/4)) of two bulls. No infectious virus could be recovered from homogenates of DNA positive tissues, indicating the absence of actively replicating virus. These results demonstrate that BHV-1.2 DNA may persist in several sacral nerve ganglia and in regional lymph nodes as well during latent infection, i.e. 50 days after experimental reactivation. These findings may help in understanding the pathogenesis of acute and latent genital infection by BHV-1.2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-196
Number of pages12
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 5 2004
Externally publishedYes



  • Balanoposthitis
  • Bovine herpesvirus (BHV-1)
  • Cattle-viruses
  • Genital infection
  • Latent infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Microbiology
  • veterinary(all)

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