Objective: We studied the ability of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) to infect peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) pretreated with or without Th2-cytokine interleukin-4 (IL-4) in vitro. Methods: Adherent cells and nonadherent cells were obtained from PBMC. We inoculated these cells with HCMV at concentrations ranging from 0 to 10 ng/ml of IL-4. Immediate-early antigen-1 (IE-1) and glycoprotein H (gH) mRNAs were detected using the reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. Results: IE-1 and gH mRNAs could be detected in monocytes pretreated with IL-4. In contrast, no IE-1 mRNA was detected in monocytes pretreated without IL-4. We tested whether higher infectious titers could result in the infection of monocytes whether or not they were pretreated with IL-4. However, no IE-1 mRNA was detected in the monocytes not pretreated with IL-4. To elucidate how HCMV-infected monocytes affect lung tissue, human embryonic lung fibroblasts MRC-5 were cocultured with HCMV-infected monocytes. The cytopathic effects of HCMV were observed microscopically and was confirmed by direct immunoperoxidase staining with a human monoclonal antibody against the HCMV IE-1. Conclusion: Our data strongly suggest that the ability of HCMV to infect monocytes may correlate with the presence of IL-4.

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