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Antiviral Res. 2002 Nov;56(2):143-51.

Antiviral agents alter ability of HSV-2 to disrupt gap junctional intercellular communication between mammalian cells in vitro.

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Department of Biology, West Chester University, West Chester, PA 19383-8102, USA.


In cultured mammalian cells (Vero), different antiviral agents change to differing degrees the ability of HSV2 to down-regulate gap junctions, each agent having a specific effect. Measured by intracellular electrodes, control cell populations showed 49-51% coupling, uninfected populations treated with acyclovir or SDS averaged 43-51% coupling while populations infected with HSV2 had coupling reduced to 8%. The antiviral agent acyclovir (1 microg/ml), which suppresses viral replication, failed to prevent this down regulation (final coupling ratio of 11%). A plant extract (250 microg/ml) from Pilostigma thonningii offered slightly more protection (final coupling ratio of 22%), while sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) (50 microM) afforded nearly complete protection (final coupling ratio of 40%). With SDS there was an initial down regulation to only 16% coupling by 3 h post infection, followed by a recovery of intercellular communication to near control levels by 24 h. While SDS was originally believed to alter the viral coat and prevent entry into the cell, our data are in agreement with recent studies which indicate that SDS treated viruses can enter into host cells, but in a severely diminished condition. Our data also suggest that the gap junction antagonist is brought into the cells as part of the entering virus.

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