Interleukin-15 and Natural Killer and NKT Cells Play a Critical Role in Innate Protection against Genital Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Infection Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • ABSTRACT Interleukin-15 (IL-15), natural killer (NK) cells, and NK T (NKT) cells, components of the innate immune system, are known to contribute to defense against pathogens, including viruses. Here we report that IL-15 −/− (NK and NKT −/+ ) mice and RAG-2 −/−c −/− (NK and NKT ) mice that lack all lymphoid cells were very susceptible to vaginal infection with a low dose of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). IL-15 −/− and RAG-2 −/−c −/− mice were 100-fold more susceptible and RAG-2 −/− , CD-1 −/− (NKT ), and gamma interferon (IFN-γ) −/− mice were 10-fold more susceptible to vaginal HSV-2 infection than control C57BL/6 mice. NK and/or NKT cells were the early source of IFN-γ in vaginal secretions following genital HSV-2 infection. This study demonstrates that IL-15 and NK-NKT cells are critical for innate protection against genital HSV-2.

publication date

  • September 15, 2003