Hepatitis E is an acute, viral hepatitis epidemic in developing regions, but which is detected with increasing frequency in sporadic form in developed regions. Pigs and possibly some other mammals are considered reservoirs of zoonotic infection with hepatitis E virus (HEV). However, whilst the relative significance of potential transmission routes from pigs to people is still unclear, the consumption of raw or undercooked pig meat has been implicated as a source of HEV infection. The lack of information about HEV zoonotic transmission is due in part to the difficulties of in vitro propagation of HEV. The Rotating Wall Vessel (RVW) has been described as a useful tool for the culture of cell lines in a 3-dimensional (3D) configuration. The aim of this work was to develop a 3D cell culture system for HEV to facilitate studies into the viability of virions contaminating pig tissues. This study, demonstrated that HEV can replicate efficiently in the RWV in human hepatoblastoma PLC/PRF/5 cells for up to 5 months not only by real time RT-PCR but also by detection of complete virions via electron microscopy. Furthermore, the replication of HEV progeny was observed by detecting HEV RNA by RT-PCR. The progeny were able to infect fresh 3D cultures, showing that this method is able to produce infectious hepatitis E virions.
- simulated microgravity