Circulating endothelial giant cells permissive for human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) are detected in disseminated HCMV infections with organ involvement

Elena Percivalle, M. Grazia Revello, Luca Vago, Fulvia Morini, Giuseppe Gerna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Giant cells fully permissive for human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) were found to circulate, at a variable proportion, in peripheral blood of 21 out of 25 immunocompromised patients with disseminated HCMV infection. Circulating endothelial giant cells (EGC) were identified by a specific monoclonal antibody of endothelial origin and shown to express immediateearly, early, and late viral proteins. Immunostaining patterns of different viral proteins were comparable to those detected in vitro in cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells. EGC counts > 10 were associated with high levels (> 100) of HCMV viremia and antigenemia, as well as with an overt clinical syndrome in transplanted patients, and to an untreated long lasting organ localization in AIDS patients. On the other hand, EGC counts were <10 during disseminated HCMV infections of both transplant recipients with no apparent organ syndrome and AIDS patients with recent organ involvement. In tissue sections from AIDS patients, infected endothelial cells were found to progressively enlarge till detaching from the small vessel wall and entering blood stream. HCMV-infected EGC represent a new systemic parameter suitable for the diagnosis of HCMV organ involvement and for the study of the pathogenesis of disseminated infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-670
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Volume92
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1993

Keywords

  • AIDS
  • Antigenemia
  • Antivirals
  • Heart transplant
  • Viremia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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