New strain of mouse hepatitis virus as the cause of lethal enteritis in infant mice

J. C. Hierholzer, J. R. Broderson, F. A. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


A new strain of mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) was isolated from pooled gut suspensions from an epizootic of lethal enteritis in newborn mice. Negative-contrast electron microscopy showed an abundance of coronavirus particles in the intestinal contents and intestinal epithelium of moribund mice. We found no other virus in the epizootic. Dams seroconverted to MHV polyvalent antigen and to the agent isolated, but did not develop antibodies to other known mouse pathogens. Virus propagated in NCTC-1469 tissue culture produced enteric disease in suckling mice but not fatal diarrhea; the dams of these mice also developed antibodies to MHV and to the isolates. By complement fixation, single radial hemolysis, and quantal neutralization tests, we found the isolates antigenically most closely related to MHV-S, unilaterally related to MHV-JHM, and more distantly related to MHV-1, MHV-3, MHV-A59, and human coronavirus OC-H3. We also studied cross-reactions among the murine and human coronaviruses in detail. Tissues of infected newborn mice were examined by light microscopy, thin-section electron microscopy, and frozen-section indirect immunofluorescence, revealing that viral antigen, virus particles, and pathological changes were limited to the intestinal tract. We have designated our isolates as MHV-S/CDC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-522
Number of pages15
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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