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Elimination of HSV-2 infected cells is mediated predominantly by paracrine effects of tissue-resident T cell derived cytokines

By Pavitra Roychoudhury, David A Swan, Elizabeth Duke, Lawrence Corey, Jia Zhu, Veronica Davé, Laura Richert Spuhler, Jennifer M. Lund, Martin Prlic, Joshua T Schiffer

Posted 18 Apr 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/610634

The mechanisms underlying rapid elimination of herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) in the human genital tract despite low tissue-resident CD8+ T-cell density (TRM) are unknown. We analyzed shedding episodes during chronic HSV-2 infection: viral clearance always occurred within 24 hours of detection even if viral load exceeded 10^7 HSV DNA copies; surges in granzyme B and interferon-γ occurred within the early hours after reactivation. We next developed a mathematical model of an HSV-2 genital ulcer to integrate mechanistic observations of TRM in situ proliferation, trafficking, cytolytic effects and cytokine alarm signaling from murine studies with viral kinetics, histopathology and lesion size data from humans. A sufficiently high density of HSV-2 specific TRM predicted rapid contact-mediated elimination of infected cells. At lower TRM densities, TRM must initiate a rapidly diffusing, polyfunctional cytokine response in order to eliminate of a majority of infected cells and eradicate briskly spreading HSV-2 infection.

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