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The influence of morbilliviruses of the immunsystem of harbor seals

Projectdata

Contact: Prof. Dr. Ursula Siebert
Scientist: Dr. Henrike Seibel
Cooperation partners: 1. Prof. Dr. W. Baumgärtner, Veterinary Pathology, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover
2. Seal Centre Friedrichskoog


Morbillivirus infections are found consistently in marine mammals. In 1988 and 2002 many harbour seals died during a phocine distemper virus epidemic in the Wadden Sea, i.e. 21,000 in 2002 alone. As the animals died in consequence of bacterial, parasitic or fungal infections (secondary infections) rather than of the virus itself, it was hypothesised that the virus evokes an immunosuppression in seals, which make them amenable for secondary pathogens.
This mechanism has been published for canine distemper virus (CDV) in dogs and the human measle virus (Krakowka, 1982, Wünschmann et al., 1998, Schneider-Schaulies et al., 2002; Moss et al., 2004). The process in phocine distemper viruses infections (PDV) is almost unknown. In this project we have started to analyse the genesis and formation of morbillivirus infections and the associated immunosuppression in harbour seals. For this analysis lymphocytes are isolated from harbour seal blood and investigated for different second messengers (Cytokines) which are mentioned in the literature to cause immunosuppression in CDV- and measle virus infections. The applied technique is the real time RT-PCR. The immunosupression is checked by lymphocyte proliferation assays. A third aspect is the analysis of the expression of different surface receptor genes in morbillivirus infected and not infected lymphocytes by real time RT-PCR.

Contact person

Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover
Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research
Werftstr. 6
25761 Büsum

Prof. Prof. h. c. Dr. Ursula Siebert

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Anschrift
Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover
Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research
Werftstr. 6
25761 Büsum
Kontakt
Tel.:+49 511 856-8158
Fax.:+49 511 856-8181
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