Latency of herpes simplex virus in absence of neutralizing antibody: model for reactivation

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Science  28 Nov 1980:
Vol. 210, Issue 4473, pp. 1026-1028
DOI: 10.1126/science.6254149


Mice inoculated with herpes simplex virus (type 1) by the lip or corneal route and then passively immunized with rabbit antibody to herpes simplex virus developed a latent infection in the trigeminal ganglia within 96 hours. Neutralizing antibody to herpes simplex virus was cleared from the circulation and could not be detected in most of these mice after 2 months. Examination of ganglia from the antibody-negative mice revealed latent virus in over 90 percent of the animals, indicating that serum neutralizing antibody is not necessary to maintain the latent state. When the lips or corneas of these mice were traumatized, viral reactivation occurred in up to 90 percent of the mice, as demonstrated by the appearance of neutralizing antibody. This study provides a model for identifying factors that trigger viral reactivation.