The early events in viral dissemination via the bloodstream were identified by monitoring the fate of 123I-radiolabeled reovirus after it was injected intravenously in rats. Continuous scintillation camera imaging showed that reovirus serotypes 1 and 3 were cleared from the circulation in less than 10 minutes by specific and distinct target organs. Reovirus serotype 1 accumulated predominantly in the lungs and the liver, whereas serotype 3 accumulated in the liver and the spleen with very little virus uptake by the lungs. Incubation of reovirus serotype 1 with a monoclonal antibody directed against the viral hemagglutinin before injection totally inhibited the clearance of the virus by the lungs. Similar results were obtained when viruses biolabeled with 35S were used. These results demonstrate that viruses can be rapidly transported through the bloodstream to specific target organs and that the localization of the viruses depends on the interaction between specific viral surface components and the target organ.

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