Rabies is a type of acute fetal encephalitis caused by rabies virus (RABV). While it becomes incurable after symptom onset, it can be prevented by post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) during the long incubation period. While preclinical diagnosis aids the appropriate PEP administration, it is mostly nonfeasible owing to the absence of viremia or a specific antibody response during the incubation period. Here, an attempt was made to identify a serum biomarker for the preclinical diagnosis of rabies. Using the serum from a mouse inoculated intramuscularly (i.m.) with 5 × 105 focus-forming units (FFU) of recombinant RABV expressing red firefly luciferase (1088/RFLuc) immediately before symptom onset, two-dimensional differential gel electrophoresis was conducted, followed by mass spectrometry, and it was confirmed that apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1) was up-regulated. ELISA showed that the serum ApoA1 and specific antibody levels increased during the incubation period and on the day of symptom onset. Since a lower infectious dose can be used to induce the unstable and long incubation period generally observed in natural infection, the ApoA1 level in mice inoculated i.m. with 103 FFU of 1088/RFLuc was examined by monitoring viral dynamics using in vivo imaging. The serum ApoA1 and specific antibody levels were up-regulated in 50% and 58.3% of mice exhibiting robust RABV replication, respectively, but not in mice exhibiting weak RABV replication. In addition, it was reported that ApoA1 was found to be a biomarker for neuronal damage. Additional biomarker candidates will be needed for the effective preclinical diagnosis of rabies.
- in vivo imaging
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