Glucocorticoid regulation of lactate dehydrogenase-elevating virus replication in macrophages

William A. Cafruny, Quentin A. Jones, Thomas R. Haven, Nicole L. Zitterkopf, Peter G.W. Plagemann, Raymond R. Rowland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lactate dehydrogenase-elevating virus (LDV) is a macrophage-tropic arterivirus which generally causes a persistent viremic infection in mice. LDV replication in vivo seems to be primarily regulated by the extent and dynamics of a virus-permissive macrophage population. Previous studies have shown that glucocorticoid treatment of chronically LDV-infected mice transiently increases viremia 10-100-fold, apparently by increasing the productive infection of macrophages. We have further investigated this phenomenon by comparing the effect of dexamethasone on the in vivo and in vitro replication of two LDV quasispecies that differ in sensitivity to immune control by the host. The single neutralizing epitope of LDV-P is flanked by two N-glycans that impair its immunogenicity and render LDV-P resistant to antibody neutralization. In contrast, replication of the neuropathogenic mutant LDV-C is suppressed by antibody neutralization because its epitope lacks the two protective N-glycans. Dexamethasone treatment of mice 16 h prior to LDV-P infection, or of chronically LDV-P infected mice, stimulated viremia 10-100-fold, which correlated with an increase of LDV permissive macrophages in the peritoneum and increased LDV infected cells in the spleen, respectively. The increase in viremia occurred in the absence of changes in total anti-LDV and neutralizing antibodies. The results indicate that increased viremia was due to increased availability of LDV permissive macrophages, and that during a chronic LDV-P infection virus replication is strictly limited by the rate of regeneration of permissive macrophages. In contrast, dexamethasone treatment had no significant effect on the level of viremia in chronically LDV-C infected mice, consistent with the view that LDV-C replication is primarily restricted by antibody neutralization and not by a lack of permissive macrophages. β-Glucan, the receptor of which is induced on macrophages by dexamethasone treatment, had no effect on the LDV permissiveness of macrophages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-87
Number of pages5
JournalVirus Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Dexamethasone
  • Lactate dehydrogenase-elevating virus
  • Macrophages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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