Seroconversion of 1-year-old Mice to Murine Norovirus.

Document Type


Publication Date




JAX Source

J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci 2019 Mar; 58(2):197-200






Rodent sentinel screening for adventitious pathogens is an integral part of many biomedical research institutes and universities that use rodents in research. Typical screening programs involving live sentinel animals typically purchase young SPF sentinel animals that are sampled and replaced quarterly. Previous reports suggest that mice as old as 6 mo are effective sentinels for various agents. In efforts to reduce the number of animals used in our sentinel program, we wanted to investigate the possibility of keeping sentinel animals inhouse for 12 mo at a time. We exposed mice (age, 40 to 48 wk) to murine norovirus (MNV) to test whether they could reliably produce detectable levels of antibodies (similar to younger mice) to this adventitious pathogen. Mice first exposed to MNV at 40 to 48 wk of age seroconverted to MNV after both direct inoculation (through gavage) and indirect exposure (from soiled-bedding transfer) at the same or greater frequency than mice first exposed at 8 to 12 wk of age. These findings indicate that, at least for MNV, sentinel residence time can be extended from 3 to 12 mo without compromising the reliability of seroconversion, thus ultimately reducing sentinel animal numbers. This practice, combined with nonanimal testing modalities (for example, exhaust duct sampling), can increase the sensitivity and specificity of rodent surveillance programs and minimize the use of live animals.