Expression of immunity to intravaginal herpes simplex virus type 2 infection in the genital tract and associated lymph nodes
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Herpes simplex virus type 2 is a human venereal pathogen which causes lethal neurological illness after intravaginal inoculation into BALB/cJ mice. In the present studies, we demonstrate that intravaginal vaccination with an attenuated strain of this virus, which possesses a partial deletion of the thymidine kinase gene, rapidly induced durable immunity to lethal intravaginal challenge with wild-type virus. Such immunity was characterized by a dramatic hyperplasia of genital lymph nodes and a significant reduction in wild-type virus replication and spread from the genital tract following lethal challenge. Of greater importance, immunity to lethal wild-type virus challenge in the genital tract was transferrable to non-immune mice with genital lymph node cells prepared 1 week after intravaginal vaccination but was not transferrable with serum or cells from other lymphoid organs tested at this time. The adoptive transfer of anti-viral immunity to wild-type challenge was also characterized by a diminution in wild-type virus replication and spread from the genital tract. These results suggest that an important component of cellular immunity to genital pathogens may be antigenic stimulation of genital lymph nodes.
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