Dengue virus (DV) infection is a major problem in public health. It can cause fatal diseases such as Dengue hemorrhagic fever and Dengue shock syndrome. Dendritic cells (DC) are professional APCs required for establishing a primary immune response. Here, we investigated the role of human PBMC-derived DC in DV infection. Using different techniques, including plaque assay, flow cytometry analysis, nested RT-PCR, and confocal microscope and electron microscope examinations, we show that DV can enter cultured human DC and produce virus particles. After entrance, DV could be visualized in cystic vesicles, vacuoles, and the endoplasmic reticulum. The DV-infected DC also showed proliferation and hypertrophy of the endoplasmic reticulum as well as the swollen mitochondria. In addition, the DV-stimulated DC could express maturation markers such as B7-1, B7-2, HLA-DR, CD11b, and CD83. Furthermore, the infection of DC by DV induced production of TNF-alpha and IFN-alpha, but not IL-6 and IL-12. Although DC underwent spontaneous apoptosis in the absence of feeding cytokines, this process appeared to be delayed after DV infection. Our observations provide important information in understanding the pathogenesis of DV infection.
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