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E K Gao, X H Yu, C P Lin, H Zhang, H J Kaplan; Intraocular viral replication after systemic murine cytomegalovirus infection requires immunosuppression.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1995;36(11):2322-2327.
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PURPOSE: Human cytomegalovirus retinitis is the most common blinding complication of acquired immune deficiency syndrome. However, the pathogenesis of the disease is poorly understood. The authors sought to characterize intraocular viral replication after systemic murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection in the normal and immunosuppressed Balb/c mouse. METHODS: Normal or immunosuppressed mice (400 rads radiation plus antilymphocyte serum) were infected intravenously with a recombinant MCMV (RM408) that carries an MCMV IE1 promoter--LacZ insert. In vivo MCMV replication and its tissue distribution were monitored by beta-gal activity with x-gal staining on frozen tissue sections of multiple organs harvested from infected mice at different time points after inoculation. RESULTS: MCMV replication within the eye can be detected in the immunosuppressed Balb/c mouse but not in the normal host. Intraocular viral replication was noted first, and most frequently, in the ciliary body and was mainly restricted to the uveal tract. Intraocular viral replication coincided with the peak of systemic viral replication; however, the neurosensory retina was spared. In contrast, supraciliary inoculation of MCMV in the immunosuppressed Balb/c mouse resulted in massive viral replication and destruction of the neurosensory retina. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that intraocular MCMV replication after systemic infection requires systemic immunosuppression. Furthermore, the ciliary body is the portal of entry for the virus within the eye. MCMV can replicate in the epithelium of the uvea and retinal pigment epithelium, but it does not replicate within the neurosensory retina. The absence of MCMV replication within the neurosensory retina is not caused by either a defect in the recombinant virus or the inability of the host tissue to support viral replication.
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