To study the controversial role of cytomegalovirus (CMV) in glioblastoma, we assessed the effects of murine CMV (MCMV) perinatal infection in a GFAP-cre; Nf1loxP/+; Trp53-/+ genetic mouse model of glioma (Mut3 mice). Early on after infection, MCMV antigen was predominantly localized in CD45+ lymphocytes in the brain with active viral replication and local areas of inflammation, but, by 7 weeks, there was a generalized loss of MCMV in brain, confirmed by bioluminescent imaging. MCMV-infected Mut3 mice exhibited a shorter survival time from their gliomas than control Mut3 mice perinatally infected with mock or with a different neurotropic virus. Animal survival was also significantly shortened when orthotopic gliomas were implanted in mice perinatally infected with MCMV versus controls. MCMV infection increased phosphorylated STAT3 (p-STAT3) levels in neural stem cells (NSC) harvested from Mut3 mice subventricular zone, and, in vivo, there was increased p-STAT3 in NSCs in MCMV-infected compared with control mice. Of relevance, human CMV (HCMV) also increased p-STAT3 and proliferation of patient-derived glioblastoma neurospheres, whereas a STAT3 inhibitor reversed this effect in vitro and in vivo. These findings thus associate CMV infection to a STAT3-dependent modulatory role in glioma formation/progression in the context of tumor suppressor mutations in mice and possibly in humans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research