2007 ME/CFS Research Forum

ME/CFS RESEARCH FORUM: 26-27 March 2007
University of Adelaide
Convenor: Alison Hunter Memorial Foundation

Mahalingam, Suresh


Mouse model of Ross River virus disease: A potential model of Post-infective fatigue syndrome

Infection with the mosquito-borne agent, RRV, occurs in summer and autumn epidemics in rural Australia and the Pacific rim. The acute clinical illness is marked by a triad of symptoms including polyarthritis, rash and low grade fever. Prospective cohort studies have linked acute RRV infection to Post-infective fatigue syndrome (PIFS) marked by prominent musculo-skeletal pain as well as fatigue. PIFS has been established as a valid model of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Infection of 24 day old C57Bl/6 mice resulted in moderate arthritis similar to that observed in 14-15 day old mice of the Swiss outbred strain. The signs of inflammatory disease signs following RRV infection in these mice include a failure to gain weight and progressive symmetrical hind limb dysfunction ranging from loss of hind limb gripping ability to severe hind limb dragging. Importantly, these older C57Bl/6 mice appear to completely recover from the disease by 25-30 days post infection as indicated by resumption of weight gain and an absence of observable signs of arthritis. Interestingly, observations of the 25% of Swiss outbred mice infected at 14-15 days who recover from the acute arthritis over several weeks following resolution of inflammation, indicate that they exhibit reduced grooming and mobility (despite the lack of ongoing arthritis). This protracted behavioural change is potentially reminiscent of the PIFS illness following human RRV disease. Ross River virus research may provide insights into post-infective fatigue syndrome as our new research using an animal model of disease may pave the way in better understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying viral triggered prolonged disease.

Associate Professor Suresh Mahalingam, Leader, Centre for Virology Research,

School of Health Sciences, University of Canberra


Alison Hunter Memorial Foundation
PO Box 6132 North Sydney 2059 Australia
Phone/Fax +61 2 9958 6285

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