Objectives: Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection has been suggested to be a causal factor in the development of type 1 diabetes, posttransplantation diabetes, and the failure of islet allografts. This effect of CMV has been interpreted as an indirect effect on the immune system rather than direct infection-induced cell death. In the present study, we investigated (i) the susceptibility of β cells to HCMV infection, (ii) regulation of immune cell-activating ligands, (iii) release of proinflammatory cytokines, and (iv) the effects on peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) activation. Methods: CM insulinoma cells and primary β cells were HCMV-infected in vitro using a laboratory and a clinical HCMV strain. The susceptibility to infection was measured by the expression of viral genes and proteins. Furthermore, expression levels of Major Histocompatibility Complex I, Intracellular Adhesion Molecule-1, and Lymphocyte Function Associated Antigen-3 and the release of proinflammatory cytokines were determined. In addition, PBMC activation to HCMV-infected β cells was determined. Results: β Cells were susceptible to HCMV infection. Moreover, the infection increased the cellular immunogenicity, as demonstrated by an increased MHC I and ICAM-1 expression and an increased proinflammatory cytokine release. Human cytomegalovirus-infected CM cells potently activated PBMCs. The infection-induced effects were dependent on both viral "sensing" and viral replication. Conclusions: In vivo β-cell HCMV infection and infection-enhanced cellular immunogenicity may have important consequences for native or transplanted β-cell survival. Copyright © 2012 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.