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J Infect Dis. 1992 May;165(5):813-8.

Diminished interferon-gamma and lymphocyte proliferation in neonatal and postpartum primary herpes simplex virus infection.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle.


Interferon (IFN)-gamma and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha production and lymphocyte proliferation in response to herpes simplex virus (HSV) antigen were assessed in 13 neonates and 3 parturient women with primary HSV infection. In comparison with 9 nonparturient adults, the neonates and parturient women showed significantly (P less than .01) diminished HSV antigen-stimulated lymphocyte proliferation and IFN-gamma production in the first 3-6 weeks after onset of infection. TNF alpha production did not differ significantly among HSV-infected groups. The impairment in neonatal cellular immunity was due, at least in part, to a specific deficit in response to HSV antigen. Lymphocyte proliferation and TNF alpha production in response to the mitogen concanavalin A (ConA) were comparable in adults and infants, but ConA-stimulated IFN-gamma production in infants was diminished throughout the study period. In contrast, HSV antigen-stimulated IFN-gamma production was comparable in infants and adults after 6 weeks. Not all patients with diminished cellular immune responses to HSV antigen manifested severe clinical disease. Nevertheless, patients with significant clinical morbidity had diminished cellular immune responses to HSV antigen. These results suggest that delayed acquisition of antigen-specific cellular immunity in primary HSV infection predisposes to more severe clinical disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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