Dengue viruses (DENV) are herein demonstrated for the first time as being able to infect and replicate in human primary lung epithelium and various lung cancer cell lines. The detection of dengue virus particles and viral negative strand RNA synthesis in the cell, in conjunction with the release of viral progenies in culture supernatants, support the notion that lung cells are susceptible to dengue virus infection. The replication efficiency of DENV in lung cancer cells from high to low is: DEN-2 (dengue virus type-2), DEN-3, DEN-4 and DEN-1. Moreover, the susceptibility of the six lung cancer cell lines to DEN-2 infection is: SW1573 > A549 > H1435; H23; H520; Bes2B. DEN-2 infection significantly increased the expression levels of IL-6 and RANTES in four of the six lung cancer cell lines, which is consistent with the high expression levels of these molecules in DHF/DSS patients. IL-6 expression induced by DEN-2 infection was NF-κB dependent. In summary, our results indicate that lung epithelial cell is a possible target of dengue viruses and IL-6 and RANTES may play pivotal roles in lung related immuno-pathogenesis.
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