The Lone Star tick, Amblyomma americanum, salivary factors exacerbate the clinical outcome of Heartland virus disease in a small animal model

Erin S. Reynolds, Jacob T. Wooldridge, Heather L. Stevenson, Saravanan Thangamani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Heartland virus was first isolated in 2009 from two patients in Missouri and is transmitted by the Lone Star tick, Amblyomma americanum. To understand disease transmission and pathogenesis, it is necessary to develop an animal model which utilizes the natural route of transmission and manifests in a manner similar to documented human cases. Herein we describe our investigations on identifying A129 mice as the most appropriate small animal model for HRTV pathogenesis that mimics human clinical outcomes. We further investigated the impact of tick saliva in enhancing pathogen transmission and clinical outcomes. Our investigations revealed an increase in viral load in the groups of mice that received both virus and tick salivary gland extract (SGE). Spleens of all infected mice showed extramedullary hematopoiesis (EH), depleted white pulp, and absence of germinal centers. This observation mimics the splenomegaly observed in natural human cases. In the group that received both HRTV and tick SGE, the clinical outcome of HRTV infection was exacerbated compared to HRTV only infection. EH scores and the presence of viral antigens in spleen were higher in mice that received both HRTV and tick SGE. In conclusion, we have developed a small animal model that mimics natural human infection and also demonstrated the impact of tick salivary factors in exacerbating the HRTV infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13304
JournalScientific reports
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The Lone Star tick, Amblyomma americanum, salivary factors exacerbate the clinical outcome of Heartland virus disease in a small animal model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this