• enterovirus 71;
  • cell tropism;
  • neurovirulence


The cell tropism of enterovirus 71 (Enteroviridae) in neuronal, glial and laryngeal cells. The 4643 strain, an enterovirus 71 isolate from a patient in Taiwan, was used to infect three human cell lines representing neuronal cells (SK-N-SH, neuroblastoma), glial cells (U373MG, glioblastoma), and laryngeal cells (HEp-2, larynx epidermoid carcinoma). Immunofluorescent staining and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) were used to detect mature enterovirus 71 4643 virions in these cell lines. The three cell lines were also compared for presence of virus-mediated cytopathic effect (CPE), synthesis of infected cell-specific proteins, viral (−) RNA, and virus replication rate. Virus particles were detected by TEM, and viral replication increased over time, indicating the existence and release of mature viruses from all three infected cell lines. The most severe CPE and the highest viral replication rate were observed in the SK-N-SH cells. Further screening of the infected cell lines by microarray analysis revealed that the neuron growth factor receptor (NGFR) gene was uniquely upregulated in infected SK-N-SH cells, implying that the receptor encoded by this gene may be involved in cell tropism. The data show that neurons are vulnerable to enterovirus 71 4643 infection and are consistent with the clinical observation that enterovirus 71 4643 targets mainly neuronal cells but is also found in many organs in conjunction with an inflammatory reaction. J. Med. Virol. 70:109–118, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.