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J Virol. 2006 Apr;80(8):3985-93.

In vivo ablation of CD11c-positive dendritic cells increases susceptibility to herpes simplex virus type 1 infection and diminishes NK and T-cell responses.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport 71130, USA.


The precise role of each of the seven individual CD11c+ dendritic cell subsets (DCs) identified to date in the response to viral infections is not known. DCs serve as critical links between the innate and adaptive immune responses against many pathogens, including herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). The role of DCs as mediators of resistance to HSV-1 infection was investigated using CD11c-diphtheria toxin (DT) receptor-green fluorescent protein transgenic mice, in which DCs can be transiently depleted in vivo by treatment with low doses of DT. We show that ablation of DCs led to enhanced susceptibility to HSV-1 infection in the highly resistant C57BL/6 mouse strain. Specifically, we showed that the depletion of DCs led to increased viral spread into the nervous system, resulting in an increased rate of morbidity and mortality. Furthermore, we showed that ablation of DCs impaired the optimal activation of NK cells and CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in response to HSV-1. These data demonstrated that DCs were essential not only in the optimal activation of the acquired T-cell response to HSV-1 but also that DCs were crucial for innate resistance to HSV-1 infection.

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