Recent reports suggest that several viruses, besides human immunodeficiency virus, induce apoptosis in infected cells. We report here that Sendai virus or Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), two potent inducers of interferon-α, caused cell death in a consistent number of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. A careful analysis of infected cells by different techniques, such as optical and electron microscopy, DNA agarose gel electrophoresis, and cytofluorimetric analysis of DNA content, showed that cell death was of apoptotic type. Sendai virus was more apoptogenic than HSV-1, and it was further studied to understand the mechanism(s) by which it induced apoptosis. Physical (uv and heat) and chemical (β-propiolactone) inactivation reduced or abolished the apoptogenic power of Sendai virus. The use of a novel technique, which allows the study of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) in intact cells by flow cytometry, showed that a decrease of MMP is concomitant with the appearance of the hypodiploid peak. These results suggest that Sendai virus and HSV-1 can be added to the list of viruses causing apoptosis, which appears to be a general mechanism occurring during viral infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology