Human peripheral blood leukocytes, lymphocyte subpopulations, and hemic cell lines were examined for their ability to support HSV and CMV replication. Mitogen-stimulated mononuclear leukocytes, B lymphocytes, and T lymphocytes supported the replication of HSV to high titers over 3 to 5 days of infection. HSV replicated in unstimulated mononuclear leukocyte cultures of one of five donors, and to a limited degree in untreated B lymphocytes of three of five donors; HSV replication was not detected in unstimulated T lymphocytes (five donors). There was no evidence of enhanced uptake of 3H-thymidine in the untreated donor cells that replicated HSV. CMV replication was not detected during 9 to 10 days of infection in untreated or mitogentreated mononuclear leukocytes and lymphocyte subpopulations from the same adult donors or in neonatal cord blood leukocytes. The ability of the cells to support HSV or CMV replication did not correlate with the presence of specific antiviral antibodies in the donor serum.
HSV replicated in B, T, and myeloid cell lines to high titers over 5 days of infection, whereas CMV failed to replicate in any of the hemic cell lines. A persistent HSV infection has been established in a T cell line (CEM) with high titers of infectious virus being produced concurrently with growth of the cells over the first 11 weeks of infection.