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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 38

of 'Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and treatment of cytomegalovirus infection in immunocompetent adults'

In vitro infection of megakaryocytes and their precursors by human cytomegalovirus.
Crapnell K, Zanjani ED, Chaudhuri A, Ascensao JL, St Jeor S, Maciejewski JP
Blood. 2000;95(2):487.
Apart from congenital human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection, manifest HCMV disease occurs primarily in immunocompromised patients. In allogeneic bone marrow transplantation, HCMV is frequently associated with graft failure and cytopenias involving all hematopoietic lineages, but thrombocytopenia is the most commonly reported hematologic complication. The authors hypothesized that megakaryocytes (MK) may be a specific target for HCMV. Although the susceptibility of immature hematopoietic progenitors cells to HCMV has been established, a productive viral life cycle has only been linked to myelomonocytic maturation. The authors investigated whether HCMV can also infect MK and impair their function. They demonstrated that HCMV did not affect the thrombopoietin (TPO)-driven proliferation of CD34(+) cells until MK maturation occurred. MK challenged with HCMV showed a 50% more rapid loss of viability than mock-infected cells. MK and their early precursors were clearly shown to be susceptible to HCMV in vitro, as evidenced by the presence of HCMV in magnetic column-purified CD42(+) MK and 2-color fluorescent staining with antibodies directed against CD42a and HCMV pp65 antigen. These findings were confirmed by the infection of MK with a laboratory strain of HCMV containing the beta-galactosidase (beta-gal) gene. Using chromogenic beta-gal substrates, HCMV wasdetected during MK differentiation of infected CD34(+) cells and after infection of fully differentiated MK. Production of infectious virus was observed in cultures infected MK, suggesting that HCMV can complete its life cycle. These results demonstrate that MK are susceptible to HCMV infection and that direct infection of these cells in vivo may contribute to the thrombocytopenia observed in patients infected with HCMV. (Blood. 2000;95:487-493)
Departments of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Internal Medicine, and Microbiology, University of Nevada Medical School, Reno, NV, USA.