Although the pathogenic effects of a primary cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection on hematopoiesis has been largely investigated so far, the effects of a persistent or latent infection have yet to be elucidated. The effects of persistent CMV infection on hematopoiesis thus were examined using BALB/c mice at 4 weeks postinfection with 0.2 LD50 of murine CMV (MCMV) infection as a persistent infection model. The parameters of constitutive hematopoiesis of MCMV persistently infected mice were completely identical to those of the control. However, the inductive hematopoiesis, examined by the autologous marrow reconstitution after 5-fluorouracil administration, was significantly impaired in the MCMV persistently infected mice (P < 0.05). In a colony- forming unit-spleen assay and a long-term bone marrow culture system, a decreased capacity of bone marrow stromal cells to support hematopoiesis was observed in the MCMV-infected mice in comparison with the controls. The existence of MCMV DNA in the adherent cells of long-term bone marrow culture from the MCMV-infected mice were confirmed by a polymerase chain reaction but not in the nonadherent cells. Furthermore, the increased expression level of tumor necrosis factor-α by stromal cells was also observed by semiquantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. These results therefore strongly suggest that MCMV remains to infect the stromal cells while also inhibiting inductive hematopoiesis through the impairment of the stromal cell functions in the MCMV persistently infected mice.
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