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Neurobiol Aging. 2001 Sep-Oct;22(5):699-703.

Vaccination prevents latent HSV1 infection of mouse brain.

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  • 1University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology, Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, Department of Optometry & Neuroscience, M60 1QD, Manchester, UK.


Herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) is a rare but very serious disorder caused by herpes simplex type 1 virus (HSV-1). Treatment with acyclovir decreases mortality but many patients still suffer cognitive impairment subsequently. A vaccine against HSV1 would therefore be of great value. HSV-1 has been implicated also in Alzheimer's disease (AD): we established that HSV1 resides in the brain of about two thirds of AD patients and aged normal people, and that in carriers of the type 4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene, it is a strong risk factor for AD. Thus a vaccine against HSV-1 might prevent development of AD in some cases. To find whether a vaccine of mixed HSV-1 glycoproteins (ISCOMs), which protects mice from latent HSV-1 infection of sensory ganglia, prevents HSV1 latency in the CNS, ISCOM-vaccinated or unvaccinated animals were infected with HSV-1. Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) we detected HSV-1 in brain from 16 of 39 unvaccinated mice (41%), but only 3 of 41 vaccinated mice (7%) (P < 0.001). Thus, ISCOMs protect the CNS also, suggesting their possible future usage in humans.

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