In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Animal

, Volume 52, Issue 8, pp 872–877 | Cite as

Establishment and characterization of fetal equine kidney and lung cells with extended lifespan. Susceptibility to equine gammaherpesvirus infection and transfection efficiency

  • Lilja ThorsteinsdóttirEmail author
  • Sigurbjörg Torsteinsdóttir
  • Vilhjálmur Svansson


Due to the slow growth of equine gammaherpesviruses, isolation of these viruses requires cells that can be propagated long term and show clear cytopathy following infection. Equine cell lines with extended lifespan were established from primary cells originating from equine fetal kidney and lung by transfecting the cells with the retroviral vector LXSN116E6E7 containing the human papilloma virus oncogenes 16 E6 and E7. The transfected equine kidney cell line and equine lung cell line can be propagated for more than 40 passages, whereas the corresponding primary cells only for 10–12 passages. The primary cells and the derived cell lines can be infected with equine gammaherpesvirus 2 (EHV-2) with similar efficiency. However EHV-5 can be grown to a substantially higher titer in the kidney cell line than their primary counterpart, with cytopathic effect visible three days earlier than in the primary cells. Due to rapid cell growth the lung cell line is difficult to use for virus production. The kidney cell line was four times more susceptible to transfection as compared to the primary kidney cells. On the other hand no difference was between the lung cell line and the primary lung cells in transfection efficiency. The cell lines can be a valuable tool for investigating gammaherpesviruses, and possibly other viruses infecting horses.


Equine cell lines Extended life span Gammaherpesvirus Transfection Viral load 



We thank Dr. Thorarinn Guðjonsson for providing the PA317 LXSN HPV16E6E7 packaging cell line. We also thank the Icelandic Research Fund for funding this research.


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Copyright information

© The Society for In Vitro Biology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lilja Thorsteinsdóttir
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sigurbjörg Torsteinsdóttir
    • 1
  • Vilhjálmur Svansson
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Experimental PathologyUniversity of IcelandReykjavíkIceland

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