Large numbers of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) infiltrated the murine vaginal mucosa within 24 h after intravaginal inoculation with an attenuated strain of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). The role of these cells in resolution of a primary genital infection and in protection of HSV- immune animals against challenge with a fully virulent HSV-2 strain was investigated. Depletion of greater than 95% of the PMNs at the vaginal mucosal surface prior to intravaginal inoculation with an attenuated HSV-2 strain resulted in significantly higher virus titers on days 3 to 7 but only slightly delayed resolution of the primary genital infection. These results suggest that neutrophils helped control the infection but that other immune mechanisms ultimately cleared the virus. Interestingly, depletion of PMNs from HSV-immune mice prior to challenge with a fully virulent HSV-2 strain resulted in a rise in virus titers to levels comparable to those of nonimmune mice and a more pronounced diminution of virus clearance from the vaginal mucosa despite the presence of HSV-specific B and T cells. Levels of gamma interferon (IFN-γ) and HSV-specific antibody were comparable in neutrophil- depleted and control-treated immune mice following HSV-2 challenge, suggesting that RB6-8C5 treatment did not impair T- and B-cell function. Therefore, these results suggest that neutrophils play a role in limiting and clearing HSV-2 vaginal infections and that they are, in association with HSV- specific B and T cells, an important component in immune protection of the vaginal mucosa.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science