Differentiated human neural stem cells: a new ex vivo model to study HHV-6 infection of the central nervous system.

Lidia De Filippis, Chiara Foglieni, Sara Silva, Angelo Vescovi, Paolo Lusso, Mauro S. Malnati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: HHV-6 is the etiologic agent of exanthem subitum, a pediatric illness that may be associated with clinical and laboratory signs of central nervous system involvement. The absence of suitable experimental models has so far hampered the elucidation of the mechanisms of HHV-6-mediated neural cell damage. Recently, the growing knowledge in neurobiology has permitted the establishment of long-term cultures of human neural stem cells (hNSC) that, by virtue of their self-renewal capacity and multipotentiality, provide a valuable tool for the study of neurodegenerative disorders. OBJECTIVES AND STUDY DESIGN: We studied the effects of HHV-6 infection in differentiated cultures of hNSC derived from the telencephalic and diencephalic regions of a 13.5 week post conception (pcw) fetal brain. The prototypic HHV-6 strain GS (subgroup A) was used. RESULTS: hNSC were differentiated ex vivo to obtain mixed cultures encompassing astrocytes, neurons and oligodendrocytes. These differentiated hNSC cultures were found to be susceptible to productive HHV-6A infection, resulting in the formation of syncytia associated with phenotypic alterations. CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate that hNSC may provide a physiologically relevant model to investigate the pathogenic role of HHV-6 in central nervous system disorders.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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