Virology, Nebraska Center for


Date of this Version

December 1996


Published in JOURNAL OF CLINICAL MICROBIOLOGY, Dec. 1996, p. 3253–3254 Vol. 34, No. 12. Copyright 1996. Used by permission.


We read with interest the recent report by Egyed et al. (4) about the distribution in tissue, in the natural host, of bovine herpesvirus type 4 (BHV-4), a member of the gammaherpesvirus group. Using PCR, those authors were able to trace BHV-4 (Movar strain) in several tissues of experimentally infected cattle (mostly spleen, lung, trachea, and nasal epithelium tissues) at different times, ranging from 3 to 48 days postinfection. The authors also report consistent detection of BHV-4 DNA in what they consider to be a pure population of lymphocytes obtained from peripheral blood of the BHV-4- infected cattle, and then they describe how BHV-4 extensively replicated in these peripheral “lymphocytes” throughout the whole period of their study. According to Egyed et al. (4), their results would then prove that the target cell of this virus is the lymphocyte and not (or not only) macrophagic cells as we previously reported (8). Furthermore, Egyed et al. contend that their results on specific lymphocyte tropism of BHV-4 justify the classification of this bovine herpesvirus as a gammaherpesvirus closely related to Epstein-Barr virus (4). An analysis of the procedures used by these authors (4) and those referenced by them (1) lead us to conclude that, in spite of their plausible rationalization, their experimental results do not provide support for the notion that lymphocytes are the target cell for replication of BHV-4.

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