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Immunology. 1990 Nov;71(3):358-63.

Interleukin-3 protects mice from acute herpes simplex virus infection.

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Department of Microbiology, UMDS, Medical School, Guy's Hospital, London, U.K.


Evidence presented here from kinetic studies of interleukin-3 (IL-3) production by spleen cells from adult mice infected subcutaneously with HSV-1 and stimulated with virus antigen in vitro shows that high levels of IL-3 were produced at the onset of the animal's recovery from the disease state. Injections of anti-IL-3 antibody into HSV-1-infected mice resulted in exacerbation of the disease. Primary mouse embryonic head cells grown in the presence of murine IL-3, when infected with HSV-1, showed a 1000-fold decrease in virus titre compared with untreated control cells. This inhibiting effect was reversed by anti-IL-3 and anti-IFN-alpha, beta and gamma antibodies. These data suggest that IL-3 plays a host-protective role against HSV infection and it does so probably by inducing brain cells to produce interferons which then inhibit virus replication.

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