The accumulation of oval cells is an early event in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma induced by certain experimental regimes involving hepatocarcinogens. Oval cells have also been observed during chronic hepatitis induced by alcohol and iron overload. In this study, livers of murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infected mice were examined to determine whether hepatitis induced by this virus could initiate oval cell proliferation. BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice were infected with MCMV and studied 4, 8, 10 and 12 months later, alongside control (uninfected) mice. The livers were examined histochemically, immunocytochemically and by in situ hybridization to identify oval cells, inflammatory cells and proliferating cells. Oval cells were seen in the periportal regions of livers from MCMV infected BALB/c mice. These increased in number from 4 to 12 months after infection in parallel with increases in the numbers of inflammatory cells, even though cells expressing MCMV antigens were no longer evident in these samples. Proliferating oval cells and hepatocytes were identified by PCNA staining, indicating an increased level of liver regeneration in the infected fivers. C57BL/6 mice are less susceptible to persistent MCMV hepatitis and had fewer oval cells than BALB/c mice. Thus the study demonstrates an association between MCMV induced hepatitis, inflammation, and presence of oval cells.
Cassell, H. S., Price, P., Olver, S. D., & Yeoh, G. (1998). The association between murine cytomegalovirus induced hepatitis and the accummulation of oval cells. International Journal of Experimental Pathology, 79(N/A), 433-441. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2613.1998.00089.x