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J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc. 2001 Dec;6(3):219-24.

Human dendritic cells as targets of dengue virus infection.

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Division of Retrovirology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and Henry M. Jackson Foundation, Rockville, Maryland 20850, USA.


Dengue virus infections are an emerging global threat. Severe dengue infection is manifested as dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome, both of which can be fatal complications. Factors predisposing to complicated disease and pathogenesis of severe infections are discussed. Using immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, flow cytometry, and ELISA techniques, we studied the cellular targets of dengue virus infection, at both the clinical (in vivo) and the laboratory (in vitro) level. Resident skin dendritic cells are targets of dengue virus infection as demonstrated in a skin biopsy from a dengue vaccine recipient. We show that factors influencing infection of monocytes/macrophages and dendritic cells are different. Immature dendritic cells were found to be the cells most permissive for dengue infection and maybe early targets for infection. Immature dendritic cells exposed to dengue virus produce TNF-alpha protein. Some of these immature dendritic cells undergo TNF-alpha mediated maturation as a consequence of exposure to the dengue virus.

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