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Zentralbl Bakteriol. 1999 Apr;289(2):203-10.

Synergistic anti-varicella-zoster virus activity of interferon-alpha 2a and acyclovir in corneal cells.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University Hospital Split, Croatia.


Human corneal stromal (HCS) cells in cultures established from donor corneas can serve as host cells for replication of varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Comparative infectious centers assays suggest that HCS cells are more restrictive hosts than MRC-5 cells, a line of human embryonic lung fibroblasts, commonly used for VZV isolation. VZV propagated in MRC-5 cells was infectious for both MRC-5 and HCS cells, but titers in HCS were one fifth of those in MRC-5 cells. Inhibition of VZV replication in HCS cells by acyclovir (ACV), recombinant human interferon-alpha 2a (IFN-alpha 2a), or the combination of these two antivirals was detected by both an infectious centers-plaque-reduction assay and an ELISA method using monoclonal anti-VZV antibody. In the infectious centers-plaque-reduction assay combinations of ACV with IFN-alpha 2a showed synergistic anti-VZV activity. VZV protein synthesis, as detected by the ELISA, was a less sensitive measure of the antiviral effects producing an ED50 value of 50 microM for ACV, five to ten times the ED50 determined in the plaque reduction assay. In the ELISA, high titers of IFN-alpha 2a (2000 IU/ml) decreased virus antigen expression only slightly, while combinations of ACV and IFN-alpha 2a were synergistic in their detected anti-VZV activity. These data document the replication of VZV in HCS cells and demonstrate that VZV is sensitive to the synergistic antiviral action of combinations of IFN-alpha 2a and ACV.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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