Plasmacytoid dendritic cells contribute to systemic but not local antiviral responses to HSV infections

PLoS Pathog. 2013 Oct;9(10):e1003728. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003728. Epub 2013 Oct 24.


Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) produce type I interferons (IFN-I) and proinflammatory cytokines in response to viruses; however, their contribution to antiviral immunity in vivo is unclear. In this study, we investigated the impact of pDC depletion on local and systemic antiviral responses to herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections using CLEC4C-DTR transgenic mice. We found that pDC do not appear to influence viral burden or survival after vaginal HSV-2 infection, nor do they seem to contribute to virus-specific CD8 T cell responses following subcutaneous HSV-1 infection. In contrast, pDC were important for early IFN-I production, proinflammatory cytokine production, NK cell activation and CD8 T cell responses during systemic HSV-2 and HSV-1 infections. Our data also indicate that unlike pDC, TLR3-expressing cells are important for promoting antiviral responses to HSV-1 regardless of the route of virus administration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / pathology
  • Herpes Genitalis / genetics
  • Herpes Genitalis / immunology*
  • Herpes Genitalis / pathology
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / immunology*
  • Herpesvirus 2, Human / immunology*
  • Immunity, Cellular*
  • Interferon Type I / genetics
  • Interferon Type I / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Plasma Cells / immunology*
  • Plasma Cells / pathology


  • Interferon Type I