Cytomegalovirus (CMV)-encoded UL144 (truncated tumor necrosis factor receptor) and outcome of congenital CMV infection

J Infect Dis. 2006 Aug 15;194(4):464-73. doi: 10.1086/505427. Epub 2006 Jul 7.


Background: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most common congenital infection in humans. The effect of viral strains on the outcome of congenital CMV is debated. We evaluated whether UL144 polymorphisms in amniotic fluid from CMV-infected Italian women were associated with terminations of pregnancy, subsequent disease in their offspring, or viral load.

Methods: The study was nested within a prenatal CMV program. We sequenced the UL144 gene from 66 amniotic-fluid samples, without knowledge of pregnancy outcome. We performed data analyses on 56 samples for which all information was available.

Results: Genotype C was associated with termination of pregnancy (P=.03). Genotype B was associated with fewer terminations of pregnancy (P=.003). A possible association was found between genotype C and symptomatic disease in newborns (odds ratio, 8.81 [95% confidence interval, 0.48-164.02]; P=.05). There was no association between specific genotype and the viral load in amniotic fluid. Symptomatic newborns who had the most common UL144 genotype (B) were more likely to have higher viral loads than were asymptomatic infants (P=.003).

Conclusions: UL144 polymorphisms may be associated with the outcome of congenital CMV infection. Larger studies should be conducted to confirm this association, before genotype analysis can be used, along with other factors, in considering terminations of pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amniotic Fluid / virology
  • Cytomegalovirus / genetics*
  • Cytomegalovirus / pathogenicity
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / congenital
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / transmission
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / virology*
  • Female
  • Fetus / virology
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical*
  • Italy
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / virology*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / genetics
  • Receptors, Virus / genetics
  • Viral Proteins / genetics


  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Receptors, Virus
  • UL144 ORF protein, Human herpesvirus 5
  • Viral Proteins