Cytomegalovirus replicates efficiently in human kidney mesangial cells

M. H. Heieren, F. J. Van Der Woude, Henry H Balfour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a major renal pathogen in congenitally infected infants and renal allograft recipients. We postulated that a specific renal cell type was involved in HCMV infection and reactivation. Human fetal kidney cortex cell cultures were assayed for their ability to support HCMV infection. Infectious center assays indicated that the low level of viral replication observed by virus yield assay occurred from a fraction of the cells in the mixed cultures. Virus-specific immunofluorescence and in situ hybridization documented the presence of HCMV-specific protein and nucleic acid, respectively, in a morphologically distinct cell type. These cells were purified, were identified as kidney mesangial cells, and were observed to support efficient HCMV replication. Our research identifies mesangial cells as a renal cell type that supports HCMV replication and provides evidence to implicate these cells in the pathogenesis of HCMV-induced renal disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1642-1646
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1988


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