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Vet. Res.
Volume 35, Number 4, July-August 2004
Equine infectious diseases
Page(s) 485 - 512
How to cite this article Vet. Res. (2004) 485-512
Vet. Res. 35 (2004) 485-512
DOI: 10.1051/vetres:2004020

Equine Infectious Anemia Virus (EIAV): what has HIV's country cousin got to tell us?

Caroline Lerouxa, Jean-Luc Cadoréa, b and Ronald C. Montelaroc

a  UMR754 INRA-UCBL-ENVL "Rétrovirus et Pathologie Comparée", IFR128, Université Claude Bernard Lyon I, 50 avenue Tony Garnier, 69007 Lyon, France
b  Département Hippique, Médecine interne École Nationale Vétérinaire de Lyon, France
c  Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

(Received 16 December 2003; accepted 2 March 2004)

Abstract - Equine Infectious Anemia Virus (EIAV) is a lentivirus, of the Retrovirus family, with an almost worldwide distribution, infecting equids. It causes a persistent infection characterized by recurring febrile episodes associating viremia, fever, thrombocytopenia, and wasting symptoms. The disease is experimentally reproducible by inoculation of Shetland ponies or horses with EIAV pathogenic strains. Among lentiviruses, EIAV is unique in that, despite a rapid virus replication and antigenic variation, most animals progress from a chronic stage characterized by recurring peaks of viremia and fever to an asymptomatic stage of infection. The inapparent carriers remain infective for life, as demonstrated by experimental transfer of blood to naive animals. The understanding of the correlates of this immune control is of great interest in defining vaccine strategies. Research on EIAV, this "country cousin" of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), over the last five decades has produced some interesting results on natural immunological control of lentivirus replication and disease and on the nature and role of virus variation in persistence and pathogenesis. These studies are of interest in the context of HIV and efforts to develop a vaccine. This review will focus on some of the most recent results.

Key words: equine infectious anemia virus / lentivirus / equids / vaccine / viral evolution

Corresponding author: Caroline Leroux

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2004