Replication of Marburg virus in human endothelial cells. A possible mechanism for the development of viral hemorrhagic disease

J Clin Invest. 1993 Apr;91(4):1301-9. doi: 10.1172/JCI116329.


Marburg and Ebola virus, members of the family Filoviridae, cause a severe hemorrhagic disease in humans and primates. The disease is characterized as a pantropic virus infection often resulting in a fulminating shock associated with hemorrhage, and death. All known histological and pathophysiological parameters of the disease are not sufficient to explain the devastating symptoms. Previous studies suggested a nonspecific destruction of the endothelium as a possible mechanism. Concerning the important regulatory functions of the endothelium (blood pressure, anti-thrombogenicity, homeostasis), we examined Marburg virus replication in primary cultures of human endothelial cells and organ cultures of human umbilical cord veins. We show here that Marburg virus replicates in endothelial cells almost as well as in monkey kidney cells commonly used for virus propagation. Our data support the concept that the destruction of endothelial cells resulting from Marburg virus replication is a possible mechanism responsible for the hemorrhagic disease and the shock syndrome typical of this infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / microbiology*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Hemorrhagic Fevers, Viral / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Marburgvirus / physiology*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Umbilical Veins / cytology
  • Umbilical Veins / microbiology
  • Virus Replication