Progressive outer retinal necrosis caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 in a patient with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

Ophthalmology. 2000 Apr;107(4):790-4. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(99)00143-8.


Objective/background: To identify the etiologic agent of rapidly progressive outer retinal necrosis (PORN) in a 32-year-old man with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), who had retinitis developed from cytomegalovirus (CMV). Multiple yellowish spots appeared in the deep retina without evidence of intraocular inflammation or retinal vasculitis, diagnosed clinically as PORN. Death occurred after failure of multiple organs.

Design: Case report.

Methods: Both globes were taken at autopsy, fixed in formalin, and examined histopathologically and immunohistochemically to identify causative agents in the retinal lesions.

Main outcome measure: Immunohistochemistry.

Results: All layers of the retina were severely damaged and contained focal calcification. Cytomegalic inclusion bodies were found in cells in the damaged retina of the right eye. Immunohistochemical studies for herpesviruses revealed the presence of CMV antigens in the right retina at the posterior pole and herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1)-specific antigen in the periphery of both retinas. No varicella-zoster virus (VZV) antigen was detected in either retina.

Conclusions: PORN has been described as a variant of necrotizing herpetic retinopathy, occurring particularly in patients with AIDS. Although the etiologic agent has been reported to be VZV, HSV-1 can be an etiologic agent.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / complications*
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / pathology
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / virology
  • Adult
  • Antigens, Viral / analysis
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology
  • Cytomegalovirus Retinitis / complications
  • Cytomegalovirus Retinitis / pathology
  • Cytomegalovirus Retinitis / virology
  • Disease Progression
  • Eye Infections, Viral / etiology*
  • Eye Infections, Viral / pathology
  • Eye Infections, Viral / virology
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Herpes Simplex / complications*
  • Herpes Simplex / pathology
  • Herpes Simplex / virology
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / immunology
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Retinal Necrosis Syndrome, Acute / etiology*
  • Retinal Necrosis Syndrome, Acute / pathology
  • Retinal Necrosis Syndrome, Acute / virology


  • Antigens, Viral