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J Virol. 2011 Aug;85(15):7710-8. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00532-11. Epub 2011 May 18.

Wild-type measles virus interferes with short-term engraftment of human CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells.

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University of Wuerzburg, Institute for Virology and Immunobiology, Versbacher Str. 7, D-97078 Wuerzburg, Germany.


Transient lymphopenia is a hallmark of measles virus (MV)-induced immunosuppression. To address to what extent replenishment of the peripheral lymphocyte compartment from bone marrow (BM) progenitor/stem cells might be affected, we analyzed the interaction of wild-type MV with hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HS/PCs) and stroma cells in vitro. Infection of human CD34(+) HS/PCs or stroma cells with wild-type MV is highly inefficient yet noncytolytic. It occurs independently of CD150 in stroma cells but also in HS/PCs, where infection is established in CD34(+) CD150(-) and CD34(+) CD150(+) (in humans representing HS/PC oligopotent precursors) subsets. Stroma cells and HS/PCs can mutually transmit MV and may thereby create a possible niche for continuous viral exchange in the BM. Infected lymphocytes homing to this compartment may serve as sources for HS/PC or stroma cell infection, as reflected by highly efficient transmission of MV from both populations in cocultures with MV-infected B or T cells. Though MV exposure does not detectably affect the viability, expansion, and colony-forming activity of either CD150(+) or CD150(-) HS/PCs in vitro, it efficiently interferes with short- but not long-term hematopoietic reconstitution in NOD/SCID mice. Altogether, these findings support the hypothesis that MV accession of the BM compartment by infected lymphocytes may contribute to peripheral blood mononuclear cell lymphopenia at the level of BM suppression.

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