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Selective tropism of a neurotropic coronavirus for ependymal cells, neurons, and meningeal cells

Selective tropism of a neurotropic coronavirus for ependymal cells, neurons, and meningeal cells

Journal of Virology 60(2): 574-582

The ability of a neurotropic virus, mouse hepatitis virus type 3 (MHV3), to invade the central nervous system (CNS) and to recognize cells selectively within the brain was investigated in vivo and in vitro. In vivo, MHV3 induced in C3H mice a gentically controlled infection of meningeal cells, ependymal cells, and neurons. In vitro, purified MHV3 bound to the surface of isolated ependymal cells and cultured cortical neurons but not to oligodendrocytes or cultured astrocytes. MHV3 replicated within cultured cortical neurons and neuroblastoma cells (NIE115); infected cultured neurons nonetheless survived survived and matured normally for a 7-day period postinfecton. On the other hand, MHV3 had a low affinity for cortical glial cells or glioma cells (C6 line), both of which appear to be morphologically unaltered by viral infection. Finally, MHV3 infected and disrupted cultured meningeal cells. This suggests that differences in the affinity of cells for MHV3 are determinants of the selective vulnerability of cellular subpopulations within the CNS. In vivo, a higher titer of virus was needed for CNS penetration in the genetically resistant (A/Jx) mice than in the susceptible (C57/BL6) mouse strain. However, in spite of viral invasion, no neuropathological lesions developed. In vitro viral binding to adult ependymal cells of susceptible and resistant strains of mice was identical. Genetic resistance to MHV3-CNS infection appeared to be mediated both by a peripheral mechanism limiting viral penetration into the CNS and by intra-CNS mechanisms, presumably at a stage after viral attachment to target cells.

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Accession: 006384774

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PMID: 3021991

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