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Am J Dermatopathol. 2004 Feb;26(1):27-32.

Absence of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 expression in varicella zoster virus-infected keratinocytes during herpes zoster: another immune evasion strategy?

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  • 1Department of Dermatopathology, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium. af.nikkels@chu.ulg.ac.be

Abstract

Downregulation of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I, MHC-II, and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) expression in infected cell lines allows some viruses to escape host immunity. In skin lesions of varicella zoster virus (VZV), MHC-II transcripts were demonstrated in keratinocytes around vesicles, but not in VZV-infected cells. Whether other immunoevasive mechanisms are present during herpes zoster (HZ) is not yet elucidated. The aim of the study was to disclose the temporal immunohistochemical expression of immune escape mechanisms during HZ. Sequential skin biopsies were performed in 5 HZ patients. VZV IE63, CD1a, CD3, CD4, CD8, CD56, CD68, L1, HLA-DR, HLA-ABC, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, interferon gamma (IFNgamma), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha), and ICAM-1 expressions were assessed on frozen sections using immunohistochemistry. Controls consisted of normal skin, herpes simplex virus (HSV) skin infections, and other distinct bullous skin diseases. HLA-DR and ICAM-1 expressions were not observed in VZV- and HSV-infected keratinocytes, contrasting with their upregulation in the surrounding epidermis and inside nonviral blisters. However, HLA-ABC expressions were not inhibited in VZV-infected keratinocytes. Furthermore, the CD4/CD8 ratio remained unmodified during the infection evolution, and this ratio was variable among patients. Increased IFNgamma, TNFalpha, and IL-6 expressions were present, but IL-10 expression only increased in later stages. In contrast to in vitro MHC-I and MHC-II downregulation, VZV infection is related to MHC-II but not MHC-I expression on infected keratinocytes. The absence of ICAM-1 expression on infected keratinocytes may reduce their antigen presentation capacities to LFA-1 ligand-bearing T cells. This may represent another VZV-associated immune escape mechanism. Increased IFNgamma, TNFalpha, and IL-6 expressions suggest a TH1 profile.

PMID:
14726820
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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