Analysis of herpes simplex virus-specific T cells in the murine female genital tract following genital infection with herpes simplex virus type 2

Virology. 1995 Oct 1;212(2):481-9. doi: 10.1006/viro.1995.1506.


A murine model of genital infection with a thymidine kinase-deficient (tk-) strain of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) was utilized to examine the development of the local T cell response in the genital mucosa and draining genital lymph nodes (gLN). HSV-specific cytokine-secreting T cells were detected in the gLN 4 days postintravaginal inoculation but not in the urogenital tract or spleen until 5 days postinoculation, suggesting the cellular immune response originates in the gLN. More CD4+ than CD8+ gLN T cells were detected by flow cytometric analysis following primary vaginal inoculation and the majority of HSV-specific gLN T cells detected by ELISPOT were CD4+ and Th1-like based on secretion of IFN gamma and not IL-4 or IL-5. A similar population of HSV-specific memory T cells persisted in the genital tract 2 months following HSV-2 tk- genital inoculation. These data suggest that the urogenital cellular immune response elicited in mice following genital inoculation with HSV-2 tk- is predominantly CD4+ and Th1-like, resembling that observed in humans. The results of this study are important for the rational design of vaccines capable of inducing protective immunity in the genital tract.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD3 Complex / analysis
  • CD4-CD8 Ratio
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Female
  • Genitalia, Female / immunology*
  • Genitalia, Female / virology
  • Herpes Genitalis / immunology*
  • Herpes Genitalis / virology
  • Herpesvirus 2, Human / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory / immunology
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mucous Membrane / immunology
  • Mucous Membrane / virology
  • Spleen / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / immunology


  • CD3 Complex
  • Interferon-gamma