Molecular evolution of Puumala hantavirus.
Puumala virus (PUUV) is a negative-stranded RNA virus in the genus Hantavirus, family Bunyaviridae. In this study, detailed phylogenetic analysis was performed on 42 complete S segment sequences of PUUV originated from several European countries, Russia, and Japan, the largest set available thus far for hantaviruses. The results show that PUUV sequences form seven distinct and well-supported genetic lineages; within these lineages, geographical clustering of genetic variants is observed. The overall phylogeny of PUUV is star-like, suggesting an early split of genetic lineages. The individual PUUV lineages appear to be independent, with the only exception to this being the Finnish and the Russian lineages that are closely connected to each other. Two strains of PUUV-like virus from Japan form the most ancestral lineage diverging from PUUV. Recombination points within the S segment were searched for and evidence for intralineage recombination events was seen in the Finnish, Russian, Danish, and Belgian lineages of PUUV. Molecular clock analysis showed that PUUV is a stable virus, evolving slowly at a rate of 0.7 x 10(-7) to 2.2 x 10(-6) nt substitutions per site per year. (+info
Increased glomerular permeability in patients with nephropathia epidemica caused by Puumala hantavirus.
BACKGROUND: Nephropathia epidemica (NE) is the Scandinavian type of haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome. Usually heavy transient proteinuria is present at the onset of the disease. METHODS: We investigated glomerular permeability in eight patients with acute NE and in eight healthy controls. Six patients were followed for 1 year. The glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was determined by inulin clearance and effective renal plasma flow (ERPF) by para-aminohippurate clearance. RESULTS: GFR and ERPF were significantly reduced in NE patients during the acute phase compared with those in controls (P<0.001 and P<0.001, respectively). The filtration fraction (FF) was thus high, 0.37. The fractional clearances of albumin, IgG, and IgG(4) were markedly increased. As a sign of tubular dysfunction, increased urinary excretion of alpha(1)-microglobulin was observed in all patients. After 1 year, the GFR of the patients no longer differed from that of the controls. ERPF was lower and FF higher than those in controls (P=0.014 and P=0.009, respectively). The fractional clearances of albumin, IgG, and IgG(4) remained increased. The high-molecular fractional dextran clearances in the patients were significantly increased compared with controls during the acute phase. Computed analysis of glomerular membrane-pore structure showed that the "shunt-flow" was increased in the patients during the acute phase compared with the controls. There was a positive correlation between the FF and the shunt (r=0.768, P=0.026). In addition, fractional clearances of albumin and IgG correlated significantly with the shunt (r=0.810, P=0.015 and r=0.762, P=0.028, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Renal involvement in the acute phase of NE is characterized by a markedly decreased GFR and ERPF. Increased glomerular permeability is associated with impairment of both the size- and charge-selectivity properties of the glomerular filter. (+info
Cross-protection against challenge with Puumala virus after immunization with nucleocapsid proteins from different hantaviruses.
Hantaviruses are rodent-borne agents that cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome or hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in humans. The nucleocapsid protein (N) is relatively conserved among hantaviruses and highly immunogenic in both laboratory animals and humans, and it has been shown to induce efficient protective immunity in animal models. To investigate the ability of recombinant N (rN) from different hantaviruses to elicit cross-protection, we immunized bank voles with rN from Puumala (PUUV), Topografov (TOPV), Andes (ANDV), and Dobrava (DOBV) viruses and subsequently challenged them with PUUV. All animals immunized with PUUV and TOPV rN were completely protected. In the group immunized with DOBV rN, 7 of 10 animals were protected, while only 3 of 8 animals were protected in the group immunized with ANDV rN, which is more closely related to PUUV rN than DOBV rN. Humoral and cellular immune responses after rN immunization were also investigated. The highest cross-reactive humoral responses against PUUV antigen were detected in sera from ANDV rN-immunized animals, followed by those from TOPV rN-immunized animals, and only very low antibody cross-reactivity was observed in sera from DOBV rN-immunized animals. In proliferation assays, T lymphocytes from animals immunized with all heterologous rNs were as efficiently recalled in vitro by PUUV rN as were T lymphocytes from animals immunized with homologous protein. In summary, this study has shown that hantavirus N can elicit cross-protective immune responses against PUUV, and the results suggest a more important role for the cellular arm of the immune response than for the humoral arm in cross-protection elicited by rN. (+info
Hypophyseal hemorrhage and panhypopituitarism during Puumala Virus Infection: Magnetic Resonance Imaging and detection of viral antigen in the hypophysis.
We describe 3 cases of nephropathia epidemica (NE) that confirm that Puumala virus infection may cause hypophyseal injury. Autopsy revealed a hemorrhagic hypophysis positive for Puumala virus antigen in both neuroendocrine stromal and vascular endothelial cells in 1 patient, and 2 patients developed hypophyseal hemorrhage (diagnosed with magnetic resonance imaging) during or shortly after acute NE, both of whom developed panhypopituitarism. (+info
Demographic factors associated with hantavirus infection in bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus).
The bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus) is the natural reservoir of Puumala virus (PUUV), a species in the genus Hantavirus. PUUV is the etiologic agent of nephropathia epidemica, a mild form of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome. Factors that influence hantavirus transmission within host populations are not well understood. We evaluated a number of factors influencing on the association of increased PUUV infection in bank voles captured in a region in northern Sweden endemic for the virus. Logistic regression showed four factors that together correctly predicted 80% of the model outcome: age, body mass index, population phase during sampling (increase, peak, or decline/low), and gender. This analysis highlights the importance of population demography in the successful circulation of hantavirus. The chance of infection was greatest during the peak of the population cycle, implying that the likelihood of exposure to hantavirus increases with increasing population density. (+info
Behavioral, physiologic, and habitat influences on the dynamics of Puumala virus infection in bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus).
Populations of bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) were monitored during a 4-year study in southern Belgium to assess the influence of agonistic behavior, reproductive status, mobility, and distribution of the rodents on the dynamics of Puumala virus (abbreviation: PUUV; genus: Hantavirus) infection. Concordance was high between data from serologic testing and results of viral RNA detection. Wounds resulting from biting or scratching were observed mainly in adult rodents. Hantavirus infection in adults was associated with wounds in the fall, i.e., at the end of the breeding season, but not in spring. In addition, sexually active animals were significantly more often wounded and positive for infection. Hantavirus infection was associated with higher mobility in juvenile and subadult males. Seroconversions observed 6 months apart also occurred more frequently in animals that had moved longer distances from their original capture point. During nonepidemic years, the distribution of infection was patchy, and positive foci were mainly located in dense ground vegetation. (+info
Human leukocyte antigen-B8-DR3 is a more important risk factor for severe Puumala hantavirus infection than the tumor necrosis factor-alpha(-308) G/A polymorphism.
The tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha(-308) G/A polymorphism (TNF-2) is in linkage disequilibrium with the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-B8-DR3 haplotype. Both factors have been associated with severe Puumala hantavirus-induced nephropathia epidemica (NE). To examine which part of this extended haplotype might show the strongest association with the outcome of NE, the HLA-B, HLA-DRB1, and TNF-alpha(-308) alleles in 116 hospital-treated patients with NE were analyzed. The findings pointing to clinically severe NE were strongly associated with HLA-B8-DR3 haplotype. There was a trend toward severe disease in persons positive for TNF-2. This was probably due to strong linkage disequilibrium with HLA-B8-DR3, since there were no differences in the clinical severity of NE when TNF-2-positive/B8-DR3-negative persons were compared with TNF-2-negative/B8-DR3-negative persons. It is concluded that the HLA-B8-DR3 haplotype is an important contributor to the course of NE. The data indicate that the TNF-2 allele is not an independent risk factor for severe NE but a passive component in the extended haplotype. (+info
Long-lived memory T lymphocyte responses after hantavirus infection.
Puumala virus (PUUV) is a hantavirus that causes hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS), which is an important public health problem in large parts of Europe. We examined the memory cytolytic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses in 13 Finnish individuals who had HFRS between 1984 and 1995. In seven of these donors, we detected virus-specific CTL responses against the PUUV nucleocapsid (N) protein after in vitro stimulation with PUUV. Six novel CD8(+) CTL epitopes were defined on the N protein and were found to be restricted by various HLA alleles including A2, A28, B7, and B8. This is the first demonstration of PUUV-specific CTL responses in humans, and the first identification of CTL epitopes on PUUV. In addition, this study provides one of the few characterizations of a human antiviral memory T cell response, without the complicating issues of virus persistence or reinfection. Interferon (IFN)-gamma ELISPOT analysis showed that memory CTL specific for these epitopes were present at high frequency in PUUV-immune individuals many years after acute infection in the absence of detectable viral RNA. The frequencies of PUUV-specific CTL were comparable to or exceeded those found in other viral systems including influenza, EBV and HIV, in which CTL responses may be boosted by periodic reinfection or virus persistence. (+info