Long-term persistence of intrathecal virus-specific antibody responses after herpes simplex virus encephalitis

J Neurol. 1985;231(6):307-12. doi: 10.1007/BF00313707.


Paired sera and cerebrospinal fluids (CSF) from nine surviving patients were collected 4.5 to 8 years after acute herpes simplex (HS) virus encephalitis. Oligoclonal bands of IgG were detected in the CSF of all, and seven patients had an elevated CSF IgG index. Antibodies to HS, varicella-zoster (VZ), measles, and cytomegalo viruses were analysed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and by imprint immunofixation (IIF) of specimens separated by electrophoresis and by thin-layer electrofocusing. Intrathecal synthesis of HS and VZ IgG antibodies was demonstrated in all and of measles IgG antibodies in one patient by both methods. Intrathecal synthesis of HS IgA antibodies was demonstrated by ELISA in three and by IIF in seven patients; the latter method also disclosed intrathecal synthesis of VZ IgA antibodies in two. No patient had intrathecal synthesis of viral IgM antibodies. The intrathecally synthesized antibodies demonstrated by IIF displayed oligoclonal characteristics. The IIF analyses as well as virus absorption tests indicated that the intrathecally synthesized VZ IgG and IgA antibodies could be explained as HS antibodies cross-reacting with VZV. The results indicate that a long-term persistence of intrathecal antibody responses to HS virus is a common feature after acute HS encephalitis. The intrathecal production of measles IgG antibodies in one case may reflect a similar persistence of non-specific immune responses induced during the acute infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology*
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Cell Count
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / cytology
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteins / analysis
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology
  • Encephalitis / etiology*
  • Encephalitis / immunology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Herpes Simplex*
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / immunology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Measles / immunology
  • Middle Aged
  • Spinal Cord / immunology
  • Time Factors


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteins