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J Med Virol. 1995 Jun;46(2):91-6.

Distribution of varicella-zoster virus gpI and gpII and corresponding genome sequences in the skin.

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Department of Dermatopathology, Chu du Sart Tilman, Liège, Belgium.


In the course of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection, some viral capsid antigens are found in the epidermis and dermis. The aim of this study was to investigate the localisation of two major VZV glycoproteins (gpI and gpII) and of their respective genes in the skin. The distribution of VZV gpI and II in 27 formalin fixed paraffin embedded skin biopsies from herpes zoster eruptions were compared by immunohistochemistry. Double immunostaining was carried our to identify infected cells. The presence of viral nucleic acids coding for gpI and gpII was examined by in situ hybridisation. The distribution of gpI and gpII and their corresponding genome sequences was similar in the epidermis. gpI and gpII were also detected in dermal FXIIIa positive dendrocytes, in Mac 387 and CD68 positive macrophages, and in perineural and endothelial cells. However, the corresponding viral nucleic acids were rarely and barely detected in these cells of the dermis. It is concluded that VZV infection of epithelial cells follows a different course than in dermal cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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