Cytomegalovirus promotes murine glioblastoma growth via pericyte recruitment and angiogenesis

Harald Krenzlin, Prajna Behera, Viola Lorenz, Carmela Passaro, Mykola Zdioruk, Michal O. Nowicki, Korneel Grauwet, Hong Zhang, Magdalena Skubal, Hirotaka Ito, Rachel Zane, Michael Gutknecht, Marion B. Griessl, Franz Ricklefs, Lai Ding, Sharon Peled, Arun Rooj, C. David James, Charles S. Cobbs, Charles H. CookE. Antonio Chiocca, Sean E. Lawler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) has been implicated in glioblastoma (GBM); however, a mechanistic connection in vivo has not been established. The purpose of this study is to characterize the effects of murine CMV (MCMV) on GBM growth in murine models. Syngeneic GBM models were established in mice perinatally infected with MCMV. We found that tumor growth was markedly enhanced in MCMV+ mice, with a significant reduction in overall survival compared with that of controls (P < 0.001). We observed increased angiogenesis and tumor blood flow in MCMV+ mice. MCMV reactivation was observed in intratumoral perivascular pericytes and tumor cells in mouse and human GBM specimens, and pericyte coverage of tumor vasculature was strikingly augmented in MCMV+ mice. We identified PDGF-D as a CMV-induced factor essential for pericyte recruitment, angiogenesis, and tumor growth. The antiviral drug cidofovir improved survival in MCMV+ mice, inhibiting MCMV reactivation, PDGF-D expression, pericyte recruitment, and tumor angiogenesis. These data show that MCMV potentiates GBM growth in vivo by increased pericyte recruitment and angiogenesis due to alterations in the secretome of CMV-infected cells. Our model provides evidence for a role of CMV in GBM growth and supports the application of antiviral approaches for GBM therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1671-1683
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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