Coxsackievirus B (CVB) and enterovirus 71 (EV71) are important causes of severe enteroviral diseases in neonates or young children in Taiwan. CVB can cause fulminant hepatitis, myocarditis or meningoencephalitis. This study was designed to explore the role of coxsackievirus-adenovirus receptor (CAR) in the pathogenesis of CVB3-infected hepatocytes via in vitro and mice studies. CVB3 (CVB3/2630) was isolated from liver tissue of a neonate with fulminant hepatitis. Cell lines A549, HeLa, HEp2 and Huh-7 were maintained in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium. Mice progeny 1 or 7 days old were used in the experiments. Viremia was noted in 7-day-old ICR mice 2 h after intraperitoneal injection. The highest viral titers were detected in blood, liver and spleen. Histopathological studies of the liver demonstrated polymorphonuclear cell infiltration, massive hepatic cell necrosis and apoptosis. CAR was expressed more in liver than in other tissues. Expression of CAR decreased with mouse age. Anti-CAR monoclonal antibody prevented infection of Huh-7 cells from CVB3. Furthermore, anti-CAR monoclonal antibody pretreatment can reduce mortality and decrease the level of liver enzymes in CVB3-infected mice. These findings indicate that CAR plays an important role in the initiation of CVB infections and is closely associated with hepatotropism and age-specific susceptibility.
This study brings a novel angle on coxsackievirus B (CVB) pathogenesis, as most of the previous studies have focused on heart or pancreas disease. Here, it is shown that infection by the human isolate CVB3 results in hepatocyte necrosis and apoptosis. The role of the viral receptor CAR is also studied, and amelioration of the symptoms after treatment with anti-CAR antibody is demonstrated, thus hinting at the potential importance of targeting CAR for therapeutic development.