Virus-induced disease occurs both through direct destruction of cells by viruses and/or secondarily through lysis of infected cells by immunological assault1-5. We asked whether viruses could also cause injury and disease by altering the cell's normal or expected functions without destroying the cells. Here we show that a relatively noncytopathic virus can perturb endocrine functions by disordering the synthesis of a hormone needed for growth and glucose regulation, while replicating in a specialized cell making that hormone. Yet, despite viral replication and alteration in synthesis of the specialized cell's homeostatic product, the infected cell remains free from structural injury.
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