The kinetic patterns of woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV) infection were monitored in the pancreas, kidneys, ovaries, and testes. Groups of woodchucks experimentally infected with a standardized inoculum of WHV were sacrificed at different times over a 65-week period beginning in the preacute phase of viral infection and continuing to the period of serologic recovery or the establishment of chronic infections and subsequent hepatocellular carcinoma (B. E. Korba, P. J. Cote, F. V. Wells, B. Baldwin, H. Popper, R. H. Purcell, B. C. Tennant, and J. L. Gerin, J. Virol. 63:1360-1370, 1989). Tissues from an additional group of long-term (2 to 3 years) chronic WHV carriers which had been infected with the same WHV inocula were also examined. Viral DNA replication intermediates were found in all four tissues during the acute phase of WHV infection. However, WHV DNA replication intermediates were observed only in the kidneys of a small proportion of the chronically infected animals. Following the acute phase of infection, WHV DNA was present only in the pancreas, kidneys, and ovaries of the chronically infected woodchucks. A progressive evolution of different WHV genomic forms related to the replicative state of WHV was observed in these tissues. Histologic evaluation of these four tissues revealed only minimal, localized lesions which were not correlated with the state of WHV activity. The observations compiled in this study further extend the tissue tropism of WHV
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