Cytomegalovirus (CMV) strain AD-169 replicated in smooth muscle cell (SMC) cultures derived from human umbilical arteries, producing enveloped infectious virions. However, unlike the effects of CMV on fully permissive human lung fibroblasts, the effects of strain AD-169 on SMC cultures were delayed and prolonged, resulting in extended survival of a fraction of the starting population. This period of survival did not exceed the life-span of the control SMC cultures. Infectious CMV continued to be isolated from the surviving SMC cultures after extinction of the original inoculum by dilution and after treatment of the cultures with CMV neutralizing antibody. The implications of these findings for the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis are discussed.