[Frontiers in Bioscience 2, d471-481, September 15, 1997]
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THE COLOSTRUM-DEPRIVED, ARTIFICIALLY-REARED, NEONATAL PIG AS A MODEL ANIMAL FOR STUDYING ROTAVIRUS GASTROENTERITIS 

Guillermo G. Gomez

Department of Animal Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7626 and Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Diseases, Chapel Hill and Raleigh, NC

Received 9/5/97 Accepted 9/10/97

1. ABSTRACT

Rotavirus gastroenteritis is one of the main causes of acute diarrhea in young humans and animals worldwide. The colostrum-deprived, artificially-reared, neonatal pig has been extensively used in our laboratory as a model animal for studying an experimentally-induced rotaviral gastroenteritis. Details on procurement of newborn pigs, immunological characteristics and artificial rearing conditions of colostrum-deprived neonatal pigs as well as on rotavirus inoculation, clinical manifestations and evaluation of intestinal damage caused by rotavirus infection are described. Our experimentally-induced rotavirus gastroenteritis model has been characterized clinically by anorexia, diarrhea, ocassional vomiting and high titers of rotavirus shedding in feces. Data reported herein provides additional information, particularly on feeding regimens of pigs before rotavirus inoculation, extent of anorexia, severity of diarrhea and extent of fecal virus shedding, as well as on the effect of rotavirus infection and size of rotavirus inocula on intestinal damage, growth and mortality during the post-infection period. On the basis of these results and others previously reported by us and by other researchers, and because of the intestinalanatomy and physiology similarities to that of human infants, the colostrum-deprived, artificially-reared, neonatal pig is the most suitable and useful model animal for studies designed to evaluate prevention and treatment of rotaviral gastroenteritis.