Brain tumors in owl monkeys inoculated with a human polyomavirus (JC virus)

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Science  29 Sep 1978:
Vol. 201, Issue 4362, pp. 1246-1249
DOI: 10.1126/science.211583


Owl monkeys were inoculated intracerebrally, subcutaneously, and intravenously with JC, BK, or SV40 virus. Two of four adult owl monkeys inoculated with JC virus, a human polyomavirus, developed brain tumors at 16 and 25 months after inoculation, respectively. A grade 3 to grade 4 astrocytoma (resembling a human glioblastoma multiforme) was found in the left cerebral hemisphere and brainstem of one monkey. The second monkey developed a malignant tumor in the left cerebral hemisphere containing both glial and neuronal cell types. Impression smears prepared from unfixed tissue of this tumor showed cells that contained polyomavirus T antigen. Virion antigens were not detected. Tumor cells cultured in vitro also contained T antigen but were negative for virion antigen. Infectious virus was not isolated from extracts of this tumor.