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

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

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, Klinikum Grosshadern, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany. dtheil@brain.nefo.med.uni-muenchen.de

Abstract

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.

PMID:
14633592
PMCID:
PMC1892378
DOI:
10.1016/S0002-9440(10)63575-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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