The pathogenesis of lower respiratory tract disease from the pandemic 2009 H1N1 (H1N1v) influenza A virus is poorly understood. Therefore, either H1N1v virus or a seasonal human H1N1 influenza A virus was inoculated into cynomolgus macaques as a nonhuman primate model of influenza pneumonia, and virological, pathological, and microarray analyses were performed. Macaques in the H1N1v group had virus-associated diffuse alveolar damage involving both type I and type II alveolar epithelial cells and affecting an average of 16% of the lung area. In comparison, macaques in the seasonal H1N1 group had milder pulmonary lesions. H1N1v virus tended to be reisolated from more locations in the respiratory tract and at higher titers than seasonal H1N1 virus. In contrast, differential expression of messenger RNA transcripts between H1N1v and seasonal H1N1 groups did not show significant differences. The most upregulated genes in H1N1v lung samples with lesions belonged to the innate immune response and proinflammatory pathways and correlated with histopathological results. Our results demonstrate that the H1N1v virus infects alveolar epithelial cells and causes diffuse alveolar damage in a nonhuman primate model. Its higher pathogenicity compared with a seasonal H1N1 virus may be explained in part by higher replication in the lower respiratory tract.

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Keywords animal models, cynomolgus macaque, genomics, pandemic 2009 H1N1, pathology, pneumonia, respiratory system, virology
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Journal Veterinary Pathology
Herfst, S, van den Brand, J.M.A, Schrauwen, E.J.A, de Wit, E, Munster, V.J, van Amerongen, G, … Kuiken, T. (2010). Pandemic 2009 H1N1 Influenza Virus Causes Diffuse Alveolar Damage in Cynomolgus Macaques. Veterinary Pathology, 47(6), 1040–1047. doi:10.1177/0300985810374836