Poliomyelitis virus I, Mahoney strain, affected human brain cells grown in tissue cultures usually causing death of the cells in 3 days. The neurons reacted in different ways to the virus, some died with their neurites extended, others contracted one or more of their neurites. Terminal bulbs were frequently formed at the tips of the neurites when they were being drawn into the cell body. The final contraction of the cell body and the change into a mass of granules were often very sudden. Vacuoles often developed in the neuron. There was no recovery.
Astrocytes, oligodendroglia, and macrophages were affected by the virus but not as quickly as the neurons.
The age of the tissue culture was not a factor when the cells were in good condition.
The age of the individual donor of the brain tissue was a factor; the fetal brain cells appeared to be more sensitive to the virus than the adult brain cells. The fetal neurons often reacted ½ hour after inoculation while the adult neurons reacted more slowly, 2 to 24 hours after inoculation.
All these changes seemed to be caused by virus infection because they were prevented by specific antiserum or by preheating the virus.