It was hypothesized that acute postnatal Bovine viral diarrhea virus 1 (BVDV-1) infection leads to leukopenia and lymphoid depletion of gut-associated lymphoid tissues similar to acute disease in calves. The objectives of the current study were to characterize the pathologic effects, viremia, viral shedding, and viral antigen deposition in 6-24-month-old, acutely infected alpacas following experimental infection with noncytopathic BVDV-1 subgenotype 1b (BVDV C0-6). The BVDV-1 isolate was obtained from a cria with naturally occurring persistent infection. Lymphocytopenia occurred 3-7 days postinfection, with a 50% reduction in peripheral lymphocytes in infected alpacas. Depletion of B-cell populations in gut-associated lymphoid tissues was evident microscopically. Populations of T cells in parafollicular zones and in nodular aggregates along the superficial submucosa remained intact. The BVDV antigen was deposited most consistently in submucosal gastrointestinal aggregated lymphoid tissues of ileum, proximal colon, and stomach compartment three. Viral antigen was more variably evident in other lymphoid tissues. Antigen distribution correlated well with histologic lesions in gastrointestinal aggregated lymphoid tissues, confirming the role of virus in lymphoid depletion. Nasal shedding was detected in all challenged alpacas on day 6 and in 4 out of 12 challenged alpacas on day 9. Viremia was present as early as day 3, and present in all challenged alpacas on days 5, 6, 7, and 9 postchallenge. Lymphocytopenia and depletion of gastrointestinal aggregated lymphoid tissues associated with acute BVDV-1 infection likely results in immune compromise and is expected to exacerbate concurrent infections even though uncomplicated BVDV-1 infection was clinically unapparent.
Keywords: Alpacas; Bovine virus diarrhea virus 1; antigen; lesions; pathogenesis; pathology.