A human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) strain passaged 10 times on MRC-5 human fibroblast cells failed to express immediate early (IE) antigens in immature dendritic cells (iDCs) after infection. However, both the early and the late HCMV conditioning medium, harvested from MRC-5 cells at 24 h or 7-9 days after infection, respectively, induced a higher ratio of DCs expressing maturation markers (CD40, CD83, CD86 and HLA-DR) on the surface of the cells. HCMV conditioning medium, ultracentrifuged to remove virus particles, exhibited a similarly enhanced expression of DC maturation markers. DCs treated with HCMV conditioning medium harvested late after infection increased the percentages of autologous CD4+ and CD8+ cells of seropositive donors to produce IFN-γ and stimulated HCMV-specific lymphoproliferative responses. The early HCMC conditioning medium was also able to induce the functional maturation of DCs, as demonstrated by supplementing this medium with a Chlamydia pneumoniae antigen.
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