Mouse hepatitis virus type 3 infection provokes a decrease in the number of sinusoidal endothelial cell fenestrae both in vivo and in vitro



Fenestrations of hepatic endothelial cells play an active role as a sieving barrier allowing extensive exchange between the blood and liver parenchyma. Alteraction of these structures may be induced in the course of various pathological events and provoke important perturbations of liver function. We demonstrate here that sinusoidal endothelial cells are permissive for mouse hepatitis virus 3 (MHV3) in vivo and in vitro and that this infection leads to a striking decrease in the number of fenestrae. The disappearance of these structures observed under scanning electron microscopy or in cryofracture preparations in vivo and in vitro cannot be reversed by the action of cytochalasin B on the microfilament network. The decrease in the porosity seems to be related directly to the productive infection of the endothelial cells, because it was not observed in A/J mice resistant to the virus and in susceptible BALB/c mice immunized with a thermosensitive mutant in which no viral replication occurs. In conclusion, a viral infection of liver endothelial cells may cause extensive loss of the fenestrations and thus lead to important functional pertubations. (Hepatology 1995; 22:395–401.)