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International Journal of Morphology

versão On-line ISSN 0717-9502


CATROXO, M. H. B et al. Ultrastructural Study of Poxvirus Causing Myxomatosis in Rabbits, in São Paulo and Santa Catarina, Brazil. Int. J. Morphol. [online]. 2009, vol.27, n.2, pp.543-552. ISSN 0717-9502.

The myxomatosis is a contagious worldwide disease caused by poxvirus which infects domestic and wild rabbits. In the present study we present two distinct outbreaks of myxomatosis when raising rabbits, one for commercial purpose of production of meat and skins and, another one for the commercialization of ornamental rabbits. The observed signs were ocular, auricular, nasal, testis lesions and many times scattered throughout the body of the animals. The lesions were characterized by formation of nodules that by palpation disclosed gummy or gelatinous aspect. At the transmission electron microscopy, all the skin and crust samples were analyzed by negative staining technique. A great number of particles with morphology similar to the poxvirus, some enveloped in a brick-shaped and irregular disposition of tubules on the external membrane, measuring 300x240 nm on the average were visualized. Ultrathin sections revealed the presence of intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies surrounded by membrane containing oval particles, measuring 270 x 130 nm, containing nucleus or an internal biconcave (dumbbell-shaped) core. Immature particles (empty), surrounded by membrane were also observed. In addition, intracytoplasmic electron dense inclusion bodies containing viral particles budding of dense amorphous material and intranuclear fibrillar or "digital" inclusions showing a regular striation and arranged in groups were found in the middle of granular material. The nuclei were deformed with densely condensed chromatin forming amorphous and electron dense inclusion bodies. In the immunocytochemistry technique, the antigen-antibody reaction was strongly marked by the particles of colloidal gold, emphasizing the viral particles. The techniques used in this study were important in the diagnosis of the affected animals.

Palavras-chave : Myxomatosis; Poxvirus; Rabbits; Transmission electron microscopy.

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