Role of macrophages in restricting herpes simplex virus type 1 growth after ocular infection.
PURPOSE: To investigate the role macrophages play in controlling herpes simplex virus (HSV)-1 replication after infection of the murine cornea. METHODS: Macrophage depletion in selected tissues before or after virus infection was achieved by repeated subconjunctival (SCJ) and/or intravenous (IV) injection of liposomes containing dichloromethylene diphosphonate (L-Cl2MDP). Controls received liposomes containing phosphate-buffered saline (L-PBS). The efficiency of depletion was evaluated by histologic examination. Virus content in infected tissues was determined by standard plaque assay. Delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) responsiveness was assessed using the ear-swelling assay. Antibody isotype responses to virus antigens and cytokine production were monitored by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. RESULTS: Balb/c mice given SCJ injection of L-Cl2MDP 4 and 2 days before HSV-1 corneal infection were found to have ocular virus titers as much as 10(5)-fold higher than that seen in the L-PBS-treated controls 8 days after infection. When L-Cl2MDP treatment was delayed until 2 and 4 days after infection, virus titers in the eye were analogous to those in the control animals. Subconjunctival and submandibular lymph node macrophages in mice given local (SCJ) L-Cl2MDP pretreatment were profoundly reduced, whereas the number of corneal Langerhans' cells and lymph node dendritic cells remained unchanged. Local L-Cl2MDP pretreatment was associated with significantly reduced DTH responsiveness to HSV-1 antigen, and an alteration in selected antibody isotype production. Depletion of macrophages in the subconjunctival tissue before corneal infection was not accompanied by enhanced virus growth at early times (2 or 4 days) after infection. CONCLUSIONS: Macrophages play an important role in restricting HSV-1 growth after corneal infection. These cells appear to be required for the development of an acquired immune response, presumably by functioning in antigen processing and presentation. The hypothesis that macrophages are major participants in innate immunity to HSV-1 corneal infection was not supported.
Cheng, H; Tumpey, TM; Staats, HF; van Rooijen, N; Oakes, JE; Lausch, RN
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