Blood Journal
Leading the way in experimental and clinical research in hematology

Dengue virus, a flavivirus, propagates in human bone marrow progenitors and hematopoietic cell lines [see comments]

  1. S Nakao,
  2. CJ Lai, and
  3. NS Young
  1. Cell Biology Section, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892.


Dengue and other arbovirus diseases are frequently associated with bone marrow failure. We show that dengue type 4 (DEN4) propagates in colonies derived from immature human bone marrow progenitors. DEN4 was propagated in BFU-E-derived colonies and replication was dependent on erythropoietin. DEN4 was not cytotoxic. In inoculated cultures, diffuse bursts with many clusters contained large amounts of DEN4 RNA. In contrast to dengue infection of macrophages, virus propagation in semisolid culture was sustained and not enhanced by subneutralizing amounts of antibody. DEN4 also was efficiently propagated in human hematopoietic cell lines, especially those with erythroid properties. In K562 cells, DEN4 infection persisted for months; greatly slowed cell growth, again without cytotoxicity; and resulted in cytopathic changes in cell appearance. Flaviviruses can infect human hematopoietic cells and alter their proliferative capacity.