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J Neurol. 1988 Sep;235(7):400-6.

Specific IgG subclass reactivity in herpes simplex encephalitis.

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Department of Virology, National Bacteriological Laboratory, Stockholm, Sweden.


Serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from 19 patients with a previous diagnosis of herpes simplex virus encephalitis (HSVE), from 14 patients with a previous diagnosis of non HSVE encephalitis and from 21 healthy subjects were examined to detect IgG subclasses 1-4 reactive with herpes simplex virus (HSV), cytomegalovirus (CMV) and varicella zoster virus (VZV). Antibodies to HSV were detected in CSF and serum from the 14 HSVE-patients with a reactivated HSV infection and from 3 of the 5 patients with a primary HSV infection. The predominant subclass pattern was an early HSV-specific IgG1 rise, followed by IgG3 and, more seldom, IgG4; HSV IgG2 was rarely seen. In HSVE patients, HSV IgG3 was absent in early samples and usually appeared 10-20 days after onset of disease. In 14 out of 16 seropositive healthy controls, on the other hand, HSV IgG3 was present in the CSF. Rising VZV IgG levels in serum and CSF were found in 11 HSVE patients. Eight of them showed signs of intrathecal VZV IgG1 synthesis. The VZV IgG reactivity was restricted to IgG1 in 7 of these whereas the HSV IgG subclass response also included IgG3 or 4. The appearance of several HSV IgG subclasses appeared to serve as a marker of HSV infection in spite of the serological VZV reaction, usually restricted to VZV IgG1. Intrathecal synthesis of the quantitatively minor HSV IgG3 and 4 subclasses was detected earlier than intrathecal synthesis of total HSV IgG, dominated by IgG1 in 4 patients with HSVE.

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