Enterovirus D-68 has always been able to infect nerve cells

induced motor neuronsEnterovirus D68 (EV-D68) was first isolated from children with pneumonia in 1962, but an association with AFM/AFP was not observed until the 2014 outbreak.

To determine if neurotropism – the ability to infect nerve cells – of EV-D68 is shared among virus isolates, we collected isolates from 1962 through 2014.  We then used these viruses to infect cultures of human motor neurons (pictured) and human astrocytes. Six of the seven EV-D68 isolates examined replicated in human neurons, and all replicated in human astrocytes.

These observations demonstrate that EV-D68 is neurotropic independent of its genetic lineage, can infect both neurons and astrocytes, and that neurotropism is not a recently acquired characteristic as has been suggested.

These results have been submitted for publication; a preprint can be found at bioRxiv.

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