Human Muscle Satellite Cells as Targets of Chikungunya Virus Infection

Simona Ozden, Michel Huerre, Jean Pierre Riviere, Lark L Schneider, Philippe V. Afonso, Vincent Mouly, Jean de Monredon, Jean Christophe Roger, Mohamed El Amrani, Jean Luc Yvin, Marie Christine Jaffar, Marie Pascale Frenkiel, Marion Sourisseau, Olivier Schwartz, Gillian Butler-Browne, Philippe Desprès, Antoine Gessain, Pierre Emmanuel Ceccaldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

192 Scopus citations


Background: Chikungunya (CHIK) virus is a mosquito-transmitted alphavirus that causes in humans an acute infection characterised by fever, polyarthralgia, head-ache, and myalgia. Since 2005, the emergence of CHIK virus was associated with an unprecedented magnitude outbreak of CHIK disease in the Indian Ocean. Clinically, this outbreak was characterized by invalidating poly-arthralgia, with myalgia being reported in 97.7% of cases. Since the cellular targets of CHIK virus in humans are unknown, we studied the pathogenic events and targets of CHIK infection in skeletal muscle. Methodology/Principal Findings: Immunohistology on muscle biopsies from two CHIK virus-infected patients with myositic syndrome showed that viral antigens were found exclusively inside skeletal muscle progenitor cells (designed as satelllite cells), and not in muscle fibers. To evaluate the ability of CHIK virus to replicate in human satellite cells, we assessed virus infection on primary human muscle cells; viral growth was observed in CHIK virus-infected satellite cells with a cytopathic effect, whereas myotubes were essentially refractory to infection. Conclusions/Significance: This report provides new insights into CHIK virus pathogenesis, since it is the first to identify a cellular target of CHIK virus in humans and to report a selective infection of muscle satellite cells by a viral agent in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere527
JournalPLoS One
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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