Human parvovirus B19 (B19V) is a common pathogen in microvascular disease and cardiomyopathy, owing to infection of endothelial cells. B19V replication, however, is almost restricted to erythroid progenitor cells (ErPCs). Endothelial regeneration attributable to bone marrow-derived circulating angiogenic cells (CACs) is a prerequisite for organ function. Because of many similarities of ErPCs and CACs, we hypothesized that B19V is a perpetrator of impaired endogenous endothelial regeneration. B19V DNA and messenger RNA from endomyocardial biopsy specimens, bone marrow specimens, and circulating progenitor cells were quantified by polymerase chain reaction analysis. The highest B19V DNA concentrations were found in CD34(+)KDR(+) cells from 17 patients with chronic B19V-associated cardiomyopathy. B19V replication intermediates could be detected in nearly half of the patients. Furthermore, chronic B19V infection was associated with impaired endothelial regenerative capacity. B19V infection of CACs in vitro resulted in expression of transcripts encoding B19V proteins. The capsid protein VP1 was identified as a novel inducer of apoptosis, as were nonstructural proteins. Inhibition studies identified so-called death receptor signaling with activation of caspase-8 and caspase-10 to be responsible for apoptosis induction. B19V causally impaired endothelial regeneration with spreading of B19V in CACs in an animal model in vivo. We thus conclude that B19V infection and damage to CACs result in dysfunctional endogenous vascular repair, supporting the emergence of primary bone marrow disease with secondary end-organ damage.
Keywords: apoptosis; endothelial progenitor cells; endothelial regeneration; reendothelialization; viruses.
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