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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 Feb 5;54(2):1070-9. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-10250.

A cationic peptide, TAT-Cd°, inhibits herpes simplex virus type 1 ocular infection in vivo.

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  • 1Microbiology Doctoral Training Program, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.



To test the in vivo activity of a peptide derived from the protein transducing domain of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Tat protein, TAT-Cd°, in a murine herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) keratitis model.


the efficacy of TAT-CD° was assessed in a postinfection treatment model with different concentrations (1 mg/mL, 0.1 mg/mL, 0.01 mg/mL) of the peptide in one of four delivery vehicles: artificial tears, PBS, methylcellulose, and aquaphor cream. Treatment began within 4 or 24 hours postinfection. Viral titers in the tear film were determined by plaque assay.


TAT-Cd° reduced the severity of keratitis in all of the delivery vehicles tested when treatment started, 4 hours postinfection. Peptide in the tears or PBS delivery vehicle had the most significant reduction in disease severity and delayed the onset of vascularization and stromal keratitis. The percentage of mice presenting with disease was also significantly reduced and viral titers were reduced by 1 log at 24 hours postinfection in mice treated with 1 mg/mL TAT-Cd°, suggesting that inhibiting replication early is sufficient to achieve clinical effects. Lower concentrations were not effective and delaying treatment by 24 hours was also not effective.


This study shows that TAT-Cd° is an effective antiviral against HSV-1 strain KOS when applied shortly postinfection and that aqueous-based formulations are more suitable.

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