Increasing evidence suggests that macrophages (M(phi)s) are necessary for persistence of Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) in the mouse central nervous system. Analysis of BeAn virus infection in the Mphi cell lines P388D1, J774A.1 and PU5-1.8, which are intermediate in their state of differentiation and resemble multifunctional resident M(phi)s, revealed restricted TMEV growth. As a result of the restricted infection, these Mphi cell lines were induced to undergo apoptosis as demonstrated by cellular morphology, DNA fragmentation, caspase protease activity, and in individual cells, by terminal deoxytransferase dUTP nick-end labelling (TUNEL).


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