BACKGROUND: HHV-6 is the etiologic agent of exanthem subitum, a pediatric illness that may be associated with clinical and laboratory signs of central nervous system involvement. The absence of suitable experimental models has so far hampered the elucidation of the mechanisms of HHV-6-mediated neural cell damage. Recently, the growing knowledge in neurobiology has permitted the establishment of long-term cultures of human neural stem cells (hNSC) that, by virtue of their self-renewal capacity and multipotentiality, provide a valuable tool for the study of neurodegenerative disorders. OBJECTIVES AND STUDY DESIGN: We studied the effects of HHV-6 infection in differentiated cultures of hNSC derived from the telencephalic and diencephalic regions of a 13.5 week post conception (pcw) fetal brain. The prototypic HHV-6 strain GS (subgroup A) was used. RESULTS: hNSC were differentiated ex vivo to obtain mixed cultures encompassing astrocytes, neurons and oligodendrocytes. These differentiated hNSC cultures were found to be susceptible to productive HHV-6A infection, resulting in the formation of syncytia associated with phenotypic alterations. CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate that hNSC may provide a physiologically relevant model to investigate the pathogenic role of HHV-6 in central nervous system disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Immunology and Allergy
- Infectious Diseases