An adult mouse model for studies of latency and recurrence after vaginal HSV-2 infection is not available at present, largely because the infection kills most mice within 14 days. We describe here an antiviral therapy that rescues most vaginally infected mice from death. Vaginally infected mice were nearly all rescued by combined treatment with one dose of monoclonal anti-HSV glycoprotein D 3 days after infection plus valacyclovir in the drinking water on days 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, and 15 after infection. At 60 days after infection, PCR measurements revealed that most rescued mice had viral DNA in their lumbosacral dorsal root ganglia, lumbosacral spinal cords, and paracervical autonomic ganglia, consistent with the possibility that latent infections were established. At this time, immunolabeling revealed CD45+ lymphoid cells in these neural tissues in rescued mice but not in normal control mice. In vivo depletion of T lymphocytes with monoclonal antibodies caused a recurrence of herpes illness symptoms earlier and in a larger proportion of rescued mice than was observed in non-depleted rescued mice. Interestingly, many rescued mice (46/114) spontaneously developed a syndrome of typical herpes illness symptoms that began with ruffled fur on a mouse that previously had sleek fur and progressed to arched backs, feeble gait, hindlimb paralysis, and death or euthanasia, or in some cases to recovery to health. This high incidence of apparent spontaneous recurrence of HSV-2 infection in rescued mice suggests that it may be possible, with some refinement of the procedure, to obtain an effective adult mouse model for studies of therapeutic vaccination to inhibit or prevent HSV-2 recurrence after genital tract infection.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 1, 2005
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