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J Virol. 2018 Mar 14;92(7). pii: e00026-18. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00026-18. Print 2018 Apr 1.

Interaction of Human Enterochromaffin Cells with Human Enteric Adenovirus 41 Leads to Serotonin Release and Subsequent Activation of Enteric Glia Cells.

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Division of Molecular Virology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
Department of Clinical Microbiology, Division of Virology, and Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
Division of Medical Microbiology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
Division of Molecular Virology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


Human adenovirus 41 (HAdV-41) causes acute gastroenteritis in young children. The main characteristics of HAdV-41 infection are diarrhea and vomiting. Nevertheless, the precise mechanism of HAdV-41-induced diarrhea is unknown, as a suitable small-animal model has not been described. In this study, we used the human midgut carcinoid cell line GOT1 to investigate the effect of HAdV-41 infection and the individual HAdV-41 capsid proteins on serotonin release by enterochromaffin cells and on enteric glia cell (EGC) activation. We first determined that HAdV-41 could infect the enterochromaffin cells. Immunofluorescence staining revealed that the cells expressed HAdV-41-specific coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor (CAR); flow cytometry analysis supported these findings. HAdV-41 infection of the enterochromaffin cells induced serotonin secretion dose dependently. In contrast, control infection with HAdV-5 did not induce serotonin secretion in the cells. Confocal microscopy studies of enterochromaffin cells infected with HAdV-41 revealed decreased serotonin immunofluorescence compared to that in uninfected cells. Incubation of the enterochromaffin cells with purified HAdV-41 short fiber knob and hexon proteins increased the serotonin levels in the harvested cell supernatant significantly. HAdV-41 infection could also activate EGCs, as shown in the significantly altered expression of glia fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) in EGCs incubated with HAdV-41. The EGCs were also activated by serotonin alone, as shown in the significantly increased GFAP staining intensity. Likewise, EGCs were activated by the cell supernatant of HAdV-41-infected enterochromaffin cells.IMPORTANCE The nonenveloped human adenovirus 41 causes diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and low-grade fever mainly in children under 2 years of age. Even though acute gastroenteritis is well described, how human adenovirus 41 causes diarrhea is unknown. In our study, we analyzed the effect of human adenovirus 41 infection on human enterochromaffin cells and found it stimulates serotonin secretion in the cells, which is involved in regulation of intestinal secretion and gut motility and can also activate enteric glia cells, which are found in close proximity to enterochromaffin cells in vivo This disruption of gut barrier homeostasis as maintained by these cells following human adenovirus 41 infection might be a mechanism in enteric adenovirus pathogenesis in humans and could indicate a possible serotonin-dependent cross talk between human adenovirus 41, enterochromaffin cells, and enteric glia cells.


EC cells; enteric adenovirus; enteric glia cells; gastroenteritis; serotonin

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