Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Pathol. 2003 Dec;163(6):2179-84.

Latent herpesvirus infection in human trigeminal ganglia causes chronic immune response.

Author information

Department of Neurology, Klinikum Grosshadern, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany.


The majority of trigeminal ganglia (TGs) are latently infected with alpha-herpesviruses [herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1) and varicella-zoster virus (VZV)]. Whereas HSV-1 periodically reactivates in the TGs, VZV reactivates very rarely. The goal of this study was to determine whether herpesvirus latency is linked to a local immune cell infiltration in human TGs. T cells positive for the CD3 and CD8 markers, and CD68-positive macrophages were found in 30 of 42 examined TGs from 21 healthy individuals. The presence of immune cells correlated constantly with the occurrence of the HSV-1 latency-associated transcript (LAT) and only irregularly with the presence of latent VZV protein. In contrast, uninfected TGs showed no immune cell infiltration. Quantitative RT-PCR revealed that CD8, interferon-gamma, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, IP-10, and RANTES transcripts were significantly induced in TGs latently infected with HSV-1 but not in uninfected TGs. The persisting lymphocytic cell infiltration and the elevated CD8 and cytokine/chemokine expression in the TGs demonstrate for the first time that latent herpesviral infection in humans is accompanied by a chronic inflammatory process at an immunoprivileged site but without any neuronal destruction. The chronic immune response seems to maintain viral latency and influence viral reactivation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center