We report a study on the effect of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) infection on apoptosis of neutrophils from both adults and neonates and present evidence showing that HSV-1 enhances apoptosis in neonatal, but not adult, neutrophils. HSV-1 enhanced the expression of both Fas and Fas ligand on the surface of neonatal neutrophils. Treatments with anti-Fas antibody and a Fas ligand inhibitor significantly reduced the induction of apoptosis by HSV-1. Using an ELISA assay, it was found that HSV-1 infection also leads to increased release of soluble FasL from HSV-1-infected neonatal neutrophils. Increased neonatal neutrophil apoptosis following HSV-1 infection may represent an important mechanism by which HSV-1 may diminish the antiviral response of neonatal neutrophils and might explain, at least in part, the severity of infections that are caused in newborns by this herpesvirus.