Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Veterinary Science

First Advisor

Dr. Udeni Balasuriya

Second Advisor

Dr. Peter J. Timoney


EHV-1 is a double-stranded DNA virus whereas EAV is a positive sense, single-stranded RNA virus. Therefore, genetically, they are very different from one another. However, both these viruses are endotheliotropic and thus, infect and replicates in equine endothelial cells resulting in vasculitis. Vasculitis is central to the pathogenesis of these two viruses. Thus, the main objective of this thesis was to investigate the inflammatory and innate immune responses of EECs that contribute towards the development of vasculitis following infection with EHV-1 and EAV in-vitro. Since proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines produced by endothelial cells play a significant role in the development of vasculitis, we investigated their gene expression as well as secretion. Results from this study showed that the proinflammatory response of EECs induced by EAV is relatively less when compared with the corresponding results from EHV-1 infected EECs. Furthermore, EAV elicits a lower type I interferon response in EECs when compared with EHV-1. Further investigations revealed an active role played by TLR 3 in inducing the proinflammatory response in EHV-1 infected EECs during the first 6 hours of infection but not in EAV infected EECs. Analyzing the whole transcriptome of EHV-1 and EAV infected EECs revealed a complex pattern of gene regulation and cellular pathways related to cellular immune, inflammatory and apoptotic responses. Finally, we investigated host genetic factors associated with EHV-1 induced myeloencephalopathy but found no evidence for a recessive allele influencing the development of EHM following EHV-1 infection for any genetic locus was identified. However, more complex host-pathogen interactions are possible.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This study was supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative competitive grant number 2013-68004-20360 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

This study was supported by the Gluck Equine Research Foundation (GERF) competitive grant.

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