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Arch Virol. 1991;117(3-4):143-64.

Preservation of natural endothelial cytopathogenicity of cytomegalovirus by propagation in endothelial cells.

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Department of Pathology, Ohio State University, Columbus.


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a source of major complications in immunosuppressed individuals, and endothelial involvement in CMV infection is well documented. Traditionally the virus has been propagated in fibroblasts, however this process may alter CMV's characteristics, thereby limiting the fibroblast model's utility as a research tool. In our efforts to develop a more accurate in vitro model of CMV/endothelial cell interaction, we have propagated a recent isolate (CMV VHL) through multiple passages in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVE) and, collaterally in neonatal human dermal fibroblasts (NHDF). Infection of HUVE inoculated with either sub-strain of the virus was confirmed by CMV-specific in situ hybridization and by immunocytochemical staining for CMV antigens. Whereas infection of HUVE by substrain VHL/E (endothelial-raised) was accompanied by dramatic cytopathology resembling that observed clinically, the endothelial cytopathic potential of VHL/F (fibroblast-raised) was lost by its 20th passage in NHDF. Similarly, the ability of VHL/F to initiate sustained productive infection in HUVE was severely attenuated; plaque assay of culture supernatants and infected cell fractions, as well as virus-specific DNA polymerase assay of cell lysates, demonstrated progressive viral reproductive activity in VHL/E-inoculated HUVE, whereas VHL/F reproduction was barely detectable. Since properties of VHL/F bear strong resemblance to those of the fibroblast-raised AD169, these studies suggest that while the fibroblast adaptation process commonly employed in the propagation of CMV restricts the host range of the virus and attenuates its spectrum of cytopathic potential, endothelial-based propagation preserves the natural endothelial cytopathogenicity of the original isolate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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