Serological evidence that Mus musculus is the natural host of Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus

Howard L. Lipton*, Byung S. Kim, Hiroyuki Yahikozawa, Charles F. Nadler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) infection is maintained in mouse colonies by fecal-oral spread (with no apparent role for persistent central nervous system infection) from an acutely infected animal to another. Therefore, serological methods offer the principal way to assess infection in mice and related rodent populations. Infection of mouse colonies with TMEV appears to be worldwide, yet no systematic serologic studies have been reported. In this study, enzyme-linked immunoassay and neutralization analysis of sera from feral Mus musculus obtained from four locations in the United States and one in Russia revealed antibodies to purified TMEV and two linear viral peptide epitopes in more than 50% of the sera derived from the five different locations. A similar analysis of sera from 26 species of related rodents trapped at multiple locations in North America and Europe indicated the presence of anti-TMEV antibodies only in a small proportion of water and bank voles that belong to a different subfamily. These results indicate that Mus musculus is the natural host of TMEV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
JournalVirus Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2001


  • Mus musculus
  • Serology
  • Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus
  • Voles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Cancer Research
  • Virology


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