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Nature. 1983 Mar 31-Apr 6;302(5907):426-9.

A human parvovirus-like virus inhibits haematopoietic colony formation in vitro.


Viruses have been shown to cause bone marrow aplasia in animals and have been implicated in bone marrow failure in man; however, until recently, a specific link between human viral infection and bone marrow failure has not been proven. In 1975 Cossart and colleagues found a serum parvovirus-like virus (SPLV, sometimes referred to as B19) in human serum. Antibody to this virus is present in the sera of 30-45% of healthy adults (Y. E. Cossart, P. P. Mortimer, unpublished observations). However, evidence for a direct link came from work by Pattison et al. who found five children with transient aplastic crisis of sickle cell disease and evidence of active infection with SPLV. This association was later confirmed in a large series of children with sickle cell disease and aplastic crisis in Jamaica. We have studied the effects of virus-containing material on haematopoiesis, using in vitro colony-forming assays to look for direct evidence for a role of SPLV in bone marrow aplasia. We show here that SPLV-containing sera inhibit erythropoiesis in culture. Moreover, in a child with hereditary spherocytosis who developed transient aplastic crisis, a strong inhibitory effect of the patient's serum on erythropoiesis correlated with the presence of virus.

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