Histopathologic and Immunohistochemical Evaluation of Induced Lesions, Tissue Tropism and Host Responses following Experimental Infection of Egyptian Rousette Bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus) with the Zoonotic Paramyxovirus, Sosuga Virus

Viruses. 2022 Jun 12;14(6):1278. doi: 10.3390/v14061278.


Ecological and experimental infection studies have identified Egyptian rousette bats (ERBs; Rousettus aegyptiacus: family Pteropodidae) as a reservoir host for the zoonotic rubula-like paramyxovirus Sosuga virus (SOSV). A serial sacrifice study of colony-bred ERBs inoculated with wild-type, recombinant SOSV identified small intestines and salivary gland as major sites of viral replication. In the current study, archived formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues from the serial sacrifice study were analyzed in depth-histologically and immunohistochemically, for SOSV, mononuclear phagocytes and T cells. Histopathologic lesion scores increased over time and viral antigen persisted in a subset of tissues, indicating ongoing host responses and underscoring the possibility of chronic infection. Despite the presence of SOSV NP antigen and villus ulcerations in the small intestines, there were only mild increases in mononuclear phagocytes and T cells, a host response aligned with disease tolerance. In contrast, there was a statistically significant, robust and targeted mononuclear phagocyte cell responses in the salivary glands at 21 DPI, where viral antigen was sparse. These findings may have broader implications for chiropteran-paramyxovirus interactions, as bats are hypothesized to be the ancestral hosts of this diverse virus family and for ERB immunology in general, as this species is also the reservoir host for the marburgviruses Marburg virus (MARV) and Ravn virus (RAVV) (family Filoviridae).

Keywords: Egyptian rousette bat; Rousettus aegyptiacus; Sosuga virus; histopathology; immunohistochemistry; natural reservoir; paramyxovirus; zoonoses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Viral
  • Chiroptera*
  • DNA Viruses
  • Marburgvirus* / physiology
  • Paramyxovirinae*
  • Tropism
  • Viruses, Unclassified*


  • Antigens, Viral