Effects or Functions of Specialized Cells

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Although they do not immediately kill cells, infections with noncytocidal viruses often interfere with the specialized functions of differentiated cells. For example, lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) virus replicating in somatotropic cells of the pituitary gland of the persistently infected mouse lowers the production of the mRNA for growth hormone in the infected cells, thus impeding the growth and development of the animal. Similarly, LCM virus replicating in {3 cells of the islets ol Langerhans in the pancreas can induce hyperglycemia in the mouse, not dissimilar to insulin-dependent diabetes in humans. (3-Adrenergic receptors and opiate receptors are impaired in brain cells persistently infected with measles virus. Viruses that infect lymphocytes may induce a generalized immunosuppression. Rhinovirus infection of the nasal epithelium results in cilial stasis and later in the destruction of cilia, although the cells are often not killed. This effect can be demonstrated in organ culture (Fig. 5-4), and it is important in lowering the resistance of the respiratory tract to secondary bacterial infection.

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