First detection of dengue virus in the saliva of immunocompetent murine model

The lack of an experimental animal model for the study of dengue pathogenesis is a limiting factor for the development of vaccines and drugs. In previous studies, our group demonstrated the susceptibility of BALB/c mice to infection by dengue virus (DENV) 1 and 2, and the virus was successfully isolated in several organs. In this study, BALB/c mice were experimentally infected intravenously with DENV-4, and samples of their saliva were collected. Viral RNA extracted from the saliva samples was subjected to qRT-PCR, with a detection limit of 0.002 PFU/mL. The presence of DENV-4 viral RNA was detected in the saliva of two mice, presenting viral titers of 109 RNA/mL. The detection of DENV RNA via saliva sampling is not a common practice in dengue diagnosis, due to the lower detection rates in human patients. However, the results observed in this study seem to indicate that, as in humans, detection rates of DENV RNA in mouse saliva are also low, correlating the infection in both cases. This study reports the first DENV detection in the saliva of BALB/c immunocompetent mice experimentally infected with non-neuroadapted DENV-4.