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PLoS One. 2008;3(12):e4073. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004073. Epub 2008 Dec 30.

In vitro and in vivo human herpesvirus 8 infection of placenta.

Author information

  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Medicine, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy.

Abstract

Herpesvirus infection of placenta may be harmful in pregnancy leading to disorders in fetal growth, premature delivery, miscarriage, or major congenital abnormalities. Although a correlation between human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) infection and abortion or low birth weight in children has been suggested, and rare cases of in utero or perinatal HHV-8 transmission have been documented, no direct evidence of HHV-8 infection of placenta has yet been reported. The aim of this study was to evaluate the in vitro and in vivo susceptibility of placental cells to HHV-8 infection. Short-term infection assays were performed on placental chorionic villi isolated from term placentae. Qualitative and quantitative HHV-8 detection were performed by PCR and real-time PCR, and HHV-8 proteins were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. Term placenta samples from HHV-8-seropositive women were analyzed for the presence of HHV-8 DNA and antigens. In vitro infected histocultures showed increasing amounts of HHV-8 DNA in tissues and supernatants; cyto- and syncitiotrophoblasts, as well as endothelial cells, expressed latent and lytic viral antigens. Increased apoptotic phenomena were visualized by the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine nick end-labeling method in infected histocultures. Ex vivo, HHV-8 DNA and a latent viral antigen were detected in placenta samples from HHV-8-seropositive women. These findings demonstrate that HHV-8, like other human herpesviruses, may infect placental cells in vitro and in vivo, thus providing evidence that this phenomenon might influence vertical transmission and pregnancy outcome in HHV-8-infected women.

PMID:
19115001
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2603597
Free PMC Article

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