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J Virol. 2010 Dec;84(23):12315-24. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01600-10. Epub 2010 Sep 22.

Immunization with different viral antigens alters the pattern of T cell exhaustion and latency in herpes simplex virus type 1-infected mice.

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  • 1Center for Neurobiology and Vaccine Development, Ophthalmology Research Laboratories, Department of Surgery, CSMC Burns & Allen Research Institute, Los Angeles, California 90048, USA.


We have shown previously that immunization with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) glycoprotein K (gK) exacerbated corneal scarring (CS) in ocularly infected mice. In this study, we investigated whether higher levels of CS were correlated with higher levels of latency and T cell exhaustion in gK-immunized mice. BALB/c mice were vaccinated with baculovirus-expressed gK or gD or mock immunized. Twenty-one days after the third immunization, mice were ocularly infected with 2 × 10(4) PFU/eye of virulent HSV-1 strain McKrae. On day 5 postinfection, virus replication in the eye was measured, and on day 30 postinfection, infiltration of the trigeminal ganglia (TG) by CD4, CD8, programmed death 1 (PD-1), and T cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain-containing protein 3 (Tim-3) was monitored by immunohistochemistry and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). This study demonstrated that higher levels of CS were correlated with higher levels of latency, and this was associated with the presence of significantly higher numbers of CD4(+)PD-1(+) and CD8(+)PD-1(+) cells in the TG of the gK-immunized group than in both the gD- and mock-immunized groups. Levels of exhaustion associated with Tim-3 were the same among gK- and mock-vaccinated groups but higher than levels in the gD-vaccinated group. In this study, we have shown for the first time that both PD-1 and Tim-3 contribute to T cell exhaustion and an increase of latency in the TG of latently infected mice.

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