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Virology. 1997 Dec 22;239(2):315-26.

Contributions of antibody and T cell subsets to protection elicited by immunization with a replication-defective mutant of herpes simplex virus type 1.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Replication-defective mutants of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) elicit immune responses in mice that reduce acute and latent infection after corneal challenge and are protective against development of disease. To understand the basis for the protective immunity induced by this new form of immunization, we investigated the contribution of various components of the immune response to protection against corneal infection and disease. Passive transfer of sera from mice immunized with the replication-defective mutant virus, d301, its parental HSV-1 strain, or uninfected cell lysate was used to examine the role of antibody. Despite posttransfer neutralizing antibody titers equivalent to those in control mice directly immunized with mutant virus, recipients of immune serum showed no reductions in primary replication in the eye, keratitis, or latent infection of the nervous system. However, immune serum protected mice from encephalitis and death. To examine the contribution of T cell subsets to protection, mice were immunized once with mutant virus and then were depleted in vivo of CD4+ or CD8+ T cells prior to corneal challenge. CD4 depletion resulted in higher titers of challenge virus in the eye at 3 to 4 days after challenge compared to control mice. Latent infection of the nervous system was increased by depletion of CD4+ T cells but not by depletion of CD8+ T cells keratitis developed only in a portion of the CD8+ T cell-depleted mice, suggesting that an immunopathologic potential of CD4+ T cells is held in check when immune CD8+ T cells are also present. Taken together, these data support a role for antibody induced by immunization with a replication-defective virus principally in protecting the central nervous system from disease, roles for CD4+ T cells in reducing primary replication in the eye and protecting against latent infection of the nervous system, and a role for CD8+ T cells in regulating the immunopathologic activity of CD4+ T cells.

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