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J Virol. 1991 Dec;65(12):6581-8.

Human cytomegalovirus productively infects primary differentiated macrophages.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037.


Monocytes are one of the predominant cell types in the peripheral blood that are infected by human cytomegalovirus (HCMV). Although virus can be detected in these cells in vivo, HCMV replication in cultured monocytes has been unsuccessful. In this study, we demonstrate efficient HCMV replication in cultured monocytes. HCMV permissiveness in these cells was dependent on nonadherent cell-induced stimulation of the monocyte, with subsequent morphological differentiation into macrophages. Approximately 40% of the cells infected by virus were detected by immunofluorescent staining with both immediate-early and late antibodies. In addition, viral plaque assays demonstrated significant productive infection of macrophages. These observations are consistent with the suggestion that the monocyte/macrophage serves as a source of viral amplification and dissemination.

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