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J Infect Dis. 1995 Feb;171(2):263-72.

Bidirectional transmission of infectious cytomegalovirus between monocytes and vascular endothelial cells: an in vitro model.

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Department of Pathology, Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus.


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infects multiple tissues and organs; however, mechanisms of dissemination remain elusive. Although hematogenous spread has been implicated, in vitro studies have generally indicated that peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) do not support the complete viral reproductive cycle. Since CMV infects endothelial cells (EC), the hypothesis that PBMC can be productively infected by contact with CMV-infected EC was tested by coculturing PBMC with CMV-infected endothelial monolayers. Dual immunohistochemical staining for mononuclear cell markers and CMV-specific antigens demonstrated infection of up to 30% of monocytes adhering to EC. To determine if infected monocytes could transmit infectious virus, they were separated from EC, replated in culture wells, and then overlaid with fresh EC. The subsequent appearance of CMV-positive cytopathic foci within the overlaid monolayers indicated that these monocytes were capable of transmitting infectious virus. Thus, these results support an interactive role for the endothelium and circulating monocytes in the dissemination of this clinically problematic virus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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