Orthopoxvirus inclusion bodies

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Orthopoxvirus inclusion bodies are aggregates of stainable protein produced by poxvirus virions in the cell nuclei and/or cytoplasm of epithelial cells in humans. They are important as sites of viral replication.[1][2]


Morphologically there are two types of Orthopoxvirus inclusion bodies, Type-A inclusion bodies and Guarnieri bodies. Type-A inclusion bodies are found only in certain poxviruses like cowpox.[3] The Guarnieri bodies are found in all poxvirus infections and their presence is diagnostic.[4] The diagnosis of an orthopoxvirus infection can also be made rapidly by electron microscopic examination of pustular fluid or scabs. However, all orthopoxviruses exhibit identical brick-shaped virions by electron microscopy.

Guarnieri bodies are named for Giuseppe Guarnieri, (1856-1918) an Italian physician who first described them.[5]


  1. ^ Formation of orthopoxvirus cytoplasmic A-type inclusion bodies and embedding of virions are dynamic processes requiring microtubules. J Virol. 2012 May;86(10):5905-14. doi: 10.1128/JVI.06997-11. Epub 2012 Mar 21.
  2. ^ Fenner, F., Witte, K.R., and Dumbell, K.R. The Orthopoxviruses. Academic Press, San Diego, 1989.
  3. ^ Leite JA, da Fonseca FG, de Souza Trindade G, Abrahão JS, Arantes RM, de Almeida-Leite CM, dos Santos JR, Guedes MI, Ribeiro BM, Bonjardim CA, Ferreira PC, Kroon EG.A-type inclusion bodies: a factor influencing cowpox virus lesion pathogenesis.Arch Virol. 2011 Apr;156(4):617-28.
  4. ^ Riedel S (January 2005). "Smallpox and biological warfare: a disease revisited". Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent) 18 (1): 13–20. PMC 1200695. PMID 16200143. 
  5. ^ Forbis, Pat; Bartolucci, Susan L.; Stedman, Thomas Lathrop (2005). Stedman's medical eponyms. Hagerstwon, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 294. ISBN 0-7817-5443-7.