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J Interferon Cytokine Res. 1998 Sep;18(9):681-90.

Herpes simplex virus replication-induced expression of chemokines and proinflammatory cytokines in the eye: implications in herpetic stromal keratitis.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville 37996, USA.


On infection of the cornea with herpes simplex virus (HSV), an immunopathologic response termed herpetic stromal keratitis (HSK) ensues. This response is mediated primarily by CD4+ T cells and only occurs if mice are infected with replication-competent virus, although replication-defective mutants induce cellular immune responses following infection. To determine the consequences of HSV replication in the cornea, which is crucial for HSK manifestation, corneas infected with productive virus and replication-defective mutants were analyzed for chemokines and proinflammatory cytokine mRNA expression by RT-PCR at various times. While productive infection resulted in rapid upregulation and sustained expression of such chemokines as N51/KC, macrophage inflammatory protein-1beta (MIP-1beta), MIP-2, and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) and such cytokines as interleukin-1 (IL-1), IL-6, IL-12, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), expression of such inflammatory mediators was minimal and transient after unproductive infection. Expression of MIP-1alpha and lymphotactin along with a biphasic expression of IL-6 and MIP-2 were seen only with productive infection. Initial PMN recruitment into the cornea was approximately 50-fold greater with productive infection than with unproductive infection. These data suggest that a replication-induced proinflammatory milieu in the cornea is crucial for the subsequent progression of HSK possibly because of enhancement of the expression of corneal agonists that drive HSK manifestation.

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