Histopathologic evaluation and scoring of viral lung infection

David K. Meyerholz, Amanda P. Beck

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

12 Scopus citations


Emergent coronaviruses such as MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV can cause significant morbidity and mortality in infected individuals. Lung infection is a common clinical feature and contributes to disease severity as well as viral transmission. Animal models are often required to study viral infections and therapies, especially during an initial outbreak. Histopathology studies allow for identification of lesions and affected cell types to better understand viral pathogenesis and clarify effective therapies. Use of immunostaining allows detection of presumed viral receptors and viral tropism for cells can be evaluated to correlate with lesions. In the lung, lesions and immunostaining can be qualitatively described to define the cell types, microanatomic location, and type of changes seen. These features are important and necessary, but this approach can have limitations when comparing treatment groups. Semiquantitative and quantitative tissue scores are more rigorous as these provide the ability to statistically compare groups and increase the reproducibility and rigor of the study. This review describes principles, approaches, and resources that can be useful to evaluate coronavirus lung infection, focusing on MER-CoV infection as the principal example.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029


  • Immunostaining
  • Lung
  • MERS-CoV infection
  • Pathology
  • Scoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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