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Canine distemper (CD) is a systemic infectious disease caused by the CD virus (CDV), a single negative-stranded RNA virus of the genus Morbillivirus (Greene and Appel 2006). This virus enters the body through the respiratory and digestive systems, then infects surrounding lymph tissues and spreads systemically to finally reach the CNS (Liu and Coffin 1957). Since local antibody responses to CDV occur in the CNS in persistent infection cases, detection of CDV antibodies in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a useful virological diagnostic method for CD encephalitis (CDE) (Greene and Appel 2006). Substances with a molecular weight smaller than 160,000, such as immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies and albumin, enter the brain relatively easily from circulating blood, and their levels reportedly range from 1/256 to 1/2048 of that in serum in subjects with a normal blood brain barrier (BBB) (Clarke and others 1965, Greene 1984, Tourtellotte 1970), though transfer of blood proteins and drugs into the brain is limited by the BBB to maintain homeostasis (Levin 1992). Thus, CDV antibody titres in serum and CSF should be simultaneously examined for accurate diagnosis of CDE. However, a CDV antibody titre derived from blood exceeding this ratio may be detected in CSF samples due to non-specific collapse of the BBB or excess blood mixed during sampling, even though the CNS is not infected with CDV (Greene and Appel 2006).
It has been reported that the measurement of antibodies to …