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E Cantin, J Chen, D E Willey, J L Taylor, W J O'Brien; Persistence of herpes simplex virus DNA in rabbit corneal cells.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1992;33(8):2470-2475.
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Corneal cell cultures were established from the corneas of rabbits killed during a period of latency 118 d after ocular infection with the RE strain of herpes simplex virus (HSV). DNA was isolated from frozen cell pellets of 42 cell cultures that did not develop viral cytopathic effects during 44 d in culture. Using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify HSV thymidine kinase (TK) gene sequences, HSV-specific DNA was detected in 15 of 42 culture-negative cell cultures. Subsequent reamplification, using nested primers that were complementary to HSV TK sequences internal to the orginal primers, resulted in eight additional culture-negative samples showing positive hybridization for HSV TK DNA. Twenty three of the 42 virus culture-negative corneal cell cultures tested by PCR were found to contain HSV genetic material. Detailed examination of the clinical histories of the eyes from which the corneal cultures were obtained showed no correlation between increased frequency or severity of epithelial disease, stromal disease, or virus shedding and more frequent isolation of virus or detection of HSV-specific DNA. These studies document that HSV DNA residues in the corneas of HSV-infected rabbits up to 118 d post-infection. About 10% of the eyes contained virus that could be reactivated in culture, whereas an additional 55% of the eyes contained DNA sequences homologous to a portion of the HSV TK gene.
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