Abstract

The coronavirus, mouse hepatitis virus strain A59 (MHV-A59), causes mild encephalitis and chronic demyelination. Immunohistochemical techniques showed that MHV-A59-infected C57BL/6 mice contained dense deposits of viral antigen in the subthalamic nucleus and substantia nigra, with fewer signs of infection in other regions of the brain. The animals showed extra- and intracellular vacuolation, neuronal loss, and gliosis in the subthalamic-nigral region. Such localization is unprecedented among known viral encephalitides of humans and other species. This infection by a member of a viral class capable of causing both encephalitis and persistent infection in several species may be related to postencephalitic parkinsonism.