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J Virol. 2002 Aug;76(16):8408-19.

Dengue virus selectively induces human mast cell chemokine production.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4H7, Canada.


Severe dengue virus infections usually occur in individuals who have preexisting anti-dengue virus antibodies. Mast cells are known to play an important role in host defense against several pathogens, but their role in viral infection has not yet been elucidated. The effects of dengue virus infection on the production of chemokines by human mast cells were examined. Elevated levels of secreted RANTES, MIP-1alpha, and MIP-1beta, but not IL-8 or ENA-78, were observed following infection of KU812 or HMC-1 human mast cell-basophil lines. In some cases a >200-fold increase in RANTES production was observed. Cord blood-derived cultured human mast cells treated with dengue virus in the presence of subneutralizing concentrations of dengue virus-specific antibody also demonstrated significantly (P < 0.05) increased RANTES production, under conditions which did not induce significant degranulation. Chemokine responses were not observed when mast cells were treated with UV-inactivated dengue virus in the presence or absence of human dengue virus-specific antibody. Neither antibody-enhanced dengue virus infection of the highly permissive U937 monocytic cell line nor adenovirus infection of mast cells induced a RANTES, MIP-1alpha, or MIP-1beta response, demonstrating a selective mast cell response to dengue virus. These results suggest a role for mast cells in the initiation of chemokine-dependent host responses to dengue virus infection.

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