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Brain Pathol. 2001 Oct;11(4):408-13.

Prevalence of HSV-1 LAT in human trigeminal, geniculate, and vestibular ganglia and its implication for cranial nerve syndromes.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Klinikum Grosshadern, LMU Munich, Germany.


Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) enters sensory neurons and can remain latent there until reactivation. During latency restricted HSV-1 gene expression takes place in the form of latency-associated transcripts (LAT). LAT has been demonstrated to be important not only for latency but also for reactivation, which may cause cranial nerve disorders. Tissue sections of the trigeminal ganglia (TG), geniculate ganglia (GG), and the vestibular ganglia (VG) from seven subjects were examined for the presence of LAT using the in situ hybridization technique. LAT was found on both sides in allTG (100%), on both sides of five subjects (70%) in the GG, and in none of the VG. Using a second more sensitive detection method (RT-PCR), we found LAT in the VG of seven of ten other persons (70%). This is the first study to demonstrate viral latency in the VG, a finding that supports the hypothesis that vestibular neuritis is caused by HSV-1 reactivation. The distribution of LAT in the cranial nerve ganglia indicates that primary infection occurs in the TG and GG and subsequently spreads along the faciovestibular anastomosis to the VG.

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