Previous attempts to define dengue virus (DENV) tropism in human autopsy tissues have detected DENV antigens that are abundant in circulation during severe dengue, and thus may be present in uninfected cells. To better define DENV tropism, we performed immunostaining for the DENV2 nonstructural protein 3 (NS3) in humans and in a mouse model of DENV infection. In mice, NS3 was detected in phagocytes of the spleen and lymph node, hepatocytes in liver, and myeloid cells in bone marrow. In human autopsy tissues, NS3 was present in phagocytes in lymph node and spleen, alveolar macrophages in lung, and perivascular cells in brain. This protein was also found in hepatocytes in liver and endothelial cells in spleen, although NS3 was not present in endothelium in any other tissue. Thus, NS3-specific immunostaining supports roles for infected phagocytes, hepatocytes, and, to a limited degree, endothelial cells in the pathogenesis of severe dengue.
Balsitis SJ, Coloma J, Castro G, Alava A, Flores D, McKerrow JH, Beatty PR, Harris E. (2009). Tropism of dengue virus in mice and humans defined by viral nonstructural protein 3-specific immunostaining. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene, 80(3)