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March 21, 1980

Herpes viruses induce atherosclerosis in chickens

JAMA. 1980;243(11):1128-1130. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300370008002

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Domestic birds who have not run afoul of the Colonel may face an even harder fate at the hands of New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center investigators. Determined to learn more about human coronary disease by studying fowl, these researchers have recently induced atheromatous plaque formation in specific-pathogen-free White Leghorns by inoculating them intratracheally with Marek's disease herpes virus (MDV).

C. Richard Minick, MD, professor of pathology at Cornell, discussed the group's findings (Am J Pathol 96:673-706, 1979) at the recent American Heart Association science writers' forum at St Petersburg Beach, Fla.

Minick and associates divided more than 100 male chicks with normal cholesterol levels into four groups. Two of the groups were inoculated with MDV two days after birth; two were not. All groups were fed a low-cholesterol diet for 15 weeks. For 15 additional weeks, one infected group and one uninfected group received a 2% cholesterol supplement to