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W J O'Brien, J L Taylor; The isolation of herpes simplex virus from rabbit corneas during latency.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1989;30(3):357-364.
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Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) latency, as operationally defined, is a state in which cell-free infectious virus cannot be demonstrated in tissue at the time of sacrifice, but infectious virus can be isolated from the same tissue after prolonged cultivation. Latent HSV has been routinely detected in sensory ganglia of the infected dermatome. We have isolated HSV-1 (RE) from the corneas of 11% of infected rabbits which harbored virus in a latent state in trigeminal ganglia. HSV-1 (RE) was isolated from 10 of 88 cultures of corneal cells established following collagenase digestion of individual corneas taken from asymptomatic animals 118 days after infection. Virus was recovered only after prolonged primary culture and in some cases serial passage of corneal cells (range 5 to 26 days to initial cytopathic effect, n = 10). Virus was isolated from 68 of 68 trigeminal ganglia from the same rabbits by cocultivation of ganglion pieces with Vero cells (range 9 to 20 days to initial cytopathic effect, n = 68) while no cell-free virus was isolated from ganglia at the time of sacrifice. Virus isolation from corneas during the latent period occurred in a manner independent of prior antiviral or antiviral plus immunosuppressive therapy. Clinical evaluation of the corneas throughout the course of acute disease, stromal disease, and at the time of sacrifice provided no evidence that could be used to predict which corneas would yield virus. These data suggest that HSV-1 can remain in a nonreplicative state characteristic of latency in cells of rabbit corneas for long periods after infection and therapy of herpetic eye disease.
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