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Cell Immunol. 2002 Oct;219(2):108-18.

Herpetic stromal keratitis in the absence of viral antigen recognition.

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Department of Microbiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, M409 Walter Life Science Bldg., Knoxville, TN 37996-0845, USA.


Herpetic stromal keratitis (HSK), resulting from ocular infection with herpes simplex virus (HSV), is thought to represent a T cell mediated immunopathologic lesion. Antigens recognized by the inflammatory T cells remain unresolved and non-TCR mediated activation of T cells (bystander activation) is considered as also involved. This report documents further evidence for the bystander activation mechanisms using three T cell transgenic RAG-/- mouse strains. Accordingly HSK occurred in PCC RAG-/-, P14 RAG-/-, and OT-1 RAG-/- mice. In none of the models could HSV specific T cell reactivity be demonstrated and animals were unprotected from lesion development by immunization prior to HSV ocular infection. The results support the role of bystander activation as a mechanism of T cell mediated immunopathology and show that CD8(+) as well as CD4(+) T cells can participate in HSK lesion development.

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