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J Exp Med. 1997 Jun 2;185(11):1969-75.

T cell receptor-gamma/delta cells protect mice from herpes simplex virus type 1-induced lethal encephalitis.

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Ben May Institute for Cancer Research, Department of Pathology and Committee on Immunology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


Increased numbers of T cell receptor (TCR)-gamma/delta cells have been observed in animal models of influenza and sendai virus infections, as well as in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus and herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). However, a direct role for TCR-gamma/delta cells in protective immunity for pathogenic viral infection has not been demonstrated. To define the role of TCR-gamma/delta cells in anti-HSV-1 immunity, TCR-alpha-/- mice treated with anti- TCR-gamma/delta monoclonal antibodies or TCR-gamma/delta x TCR-alpha/beta double-deficient mice were infected with HSV-1 by footpad or ocular routes of infection. In both models of HSV-1 infection, TCR-gamma/delta cells limited severe HSV-1-induced epithelial lesions and greatly reduced mortality by preventing the development of lethal viral encephalitis. The observed protection resulted from TCR-gamma/delta cell-mediated arrest of both viral replication and neurovirulence. The demonstration that TCR-gamma/delta cells play an important protective role in murine HSV-1 infections supports their potential contribution to the immune responses in human HSV-1 infection. Thus, this study demonstrates that TCR-gamma/delta cells may play an important regulatory role in human HSV-1 infections.

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