Primary goat synovial membrane (GSM) cells are widely used to study small ruminant lentiviruses (SRLV), i.e. maedi visna virus (MVV) and caprine arthritis-encephalitis virus (CAEV), but their limited life-span of 15-20 passages in vitro is problematic. Here, we report that ectopic expression of the catalytic subunit of human telomerase (hTERT) was sufficient to immortalize primary GSM cells. Cultures of hTERT-transfected GSM cells have been passaged for 2 years without showing any phenotypic difference from the original primary GSM cells. The hTERT-transfected cells continued to grow beyond a population doubling number of 250, while no net telomere lengthening was observed for these cells. Moreover, the immortalized GSM cells were susceptible to infection by both CAEV and MVV and were able to propagate theses viruses. Such cell line provides a useful source of standard and robust cells for both research and veterinary purposes.