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Virology. 1999 Jun 5;258(2):282-94.

The role of gamma interferon in immune resistance to vaginal infection by herpes simplex virus type 2 in mice.

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School of Medicine, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, 62901-6523, USA.


We investigated the role of interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) in a mouse model of immunity to vaginal infection by herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Within 8 h after immune mice were challenged intravaginally with HSV-2, IFN-gamma concentrations in vaginal secretions reached levels that can be antiviral in vitro. This rapid synthesis of IFN-gamma occurred in immune-challenged mice but not in nonimmune-challenged mice, indicating that it required memory T cells. Immunostaining and in situ hybridization revealed that the IFN-gamma was synthesized by cells whose morphological appearance suggested that they were lymphocytes and macrophage-like cells in the mucosa. The presence of IFN-gamma in vaginal secretions was correlated with upregulation of MHC class II antigens in the epithelium and with vigorous (30-fold) recruitment of T and B lymphocytes into the vagina. In vivo administration of anti-IFN-gamma to immune mice 17 h before virus challenge blocked the subsequent appearance of IFN-gamma in vaginal secretions, blocked upregulation of class II antigens, blocked adherence of T cells to endothelium and their recruitment into the vagina, and markedly reduced immunity against reinfection of the vaginal epithelium.

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