Comparative antibody response in harbour and grey seals naturally infected by a morbillivirus

Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 1997 Mar;55(4):341-9. doi: 10.1016/s0165-2427(96)05719-4.


The antibody response of free-ranging harbour and grey seals, naturally infected by a morbillivirus, was assessed using a virus neutralizing test and a radio-immunoprecipitation assay. The prevalence of antibody was similar between species, however, grey seals had significantly higher virus neutralizing titers. Serum from clinically healthy grey seals precipitated the nucleocapsid (N) protein along with the hemagglutinin (H) and fusion (F) glycoproteins. By contrast, significantly fewer harbour seal sera precipitated the envelope glycoproteins and responses were weaker than those of grey seals. One harbour seal with acute morbillivirus pneumonia, and two with encephalitis precipitated only the N protein. Serum from four harbour seals with encephalitis weakly recognized the envelope glycoproteins. Thus, the antibody response of grey seals appears more competent than that of harbour seals with respect to morbillivirus antigens. We speculate that this difference between the species may be an important determinant of morbillivirus susceptibility.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / biosynthesis*
  • Distemper Virus, Canine / immunology
  • Distemper Virus, Phocine / immunology
  • Female
  • Morbillivirus / immunology*
  • Morbillivirus Infections / blood
  • Morbillivirus Infections / immunology*
  • Morbillivirus Infections / veterinary*
  • Neutralization Tests / veterinary
  • Radioimmunoprecipitation Assay / veterinary
  • Seals, Earless / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Viral