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J Interferon Cytokine Res. 1999 Oct;19(10):1153-60.

Placental macrophage contact potentiates the complete replicative cycle of human cytomegalovirus in syncytiotrophoblast cells: role of interleukin-8 and transforming growth factor-beta1.

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Institute of Microbiology, University Medical School, Debrecen, Hungary.


Although syncytiotrophoblast (ST) cells can be infected by human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), in vitro studies have indicated that ST cells do not support the complete viral reproductive cycle, or HCMV replication may occur in less than 3% of ST cells. The present study tested the possibility that placental macrophages might enhance activation of HCMV carried in ST cells and, further, that infected ST cells would be capable of transmitting virus to neighboring macrophages. For this purpose, we studied HCMV replication in ST cells grown alone or cocultured with uninfected placental macrophages. Our results demonstrated that HCMV gene expression in ST cells was markedly upregulated by coculture with macrophages, resulting in release of substantial amounts of infectious virus from HCMV-infected ST cells. After having become permissive for viral replication, ST cells delivered HCMV to the cocultured macrophages, as evidenced by detection of virus-specific antigens in these cells. The stimulatory effect of coculture on HCMV gene expression in ST cells was mediated by marked interleukin-8 (IL-8) and transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) release from macrophages, an effect caused by contact between the different placental cells. Our findings indicate an interactive role for the ST layer and placental macrophages in the dissemination of HCMV among placental tissue. Eventually, these interactions may contribute to the transmission of HCMV from mother to the fetus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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