In the absence of T cells, natural killer cells protect from mortality due to HSV-1 encephalitis

J Neuroimmunol. 1999 Jan 1;93(1-2):208-13. doi: 10.1016/s0165-5728(98)00236-7.


The importance of natural killer (NK) cells in the resistance to herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), a common infection of immunocompromised patients, is unclear. Previous data on the role of NK cells in murine HSV-1 infection has been contradictory. Adoptive transfer studies suggested that NK cells mediated resistance to HSV-1, but in vivo depletion approaches demonstrated that NK cells were not important. We studied the course of HSV-1 infection after intranasal (i.n.) inoculation of E26 mice (lacking NK and T cells), T cell knockout (T cell ko) mice (lacking T cells only), or normal control mice. The E26 mice showed greater mortality and an impaired ability to clear virus from lung and brain compared to T cell ko mice and control mice, and had severe necrotizing HSV-1 encephalitis. Therefore, the data support the hypothesis that NK cells play an important role in the natural defense of murine HSV-1 infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation / immunology
  • Encephalitis, Viral / immunology*
  • Encephalitis, Viral / mortality
  • Encephalitis, Viral / pathology
  • Herpes Simplex / immunology*
  • Herpes Simplex / mortality
  • Herpes Simplex / pathology
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / immunology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / virology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Necrosis
  • Survival Analysis
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / virology
  • Temporal Lobe / immunology
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology
  • Temporal Lobe / virology