Production of key molecules by ocular neutrophils early after herpetic infection of the cornea

Exp Eye Res. 1998 Dec;67(6):619-24. doi: 10.1006/exer.1998.0565.


Herpes simplex virus infection of the eye can result in a blinding inflammatory lesion that is a T cell mediated immunopathological reaction. A prominent early event following HSV infection is neutrophil invasion of the corneal stroma. These cells may be involved in viral clearance and may influence the nature of the anti HSV T cell response which subsequently occurs. This article measures the expression of some key molecules which could participate in viral clearance and immune modulation. Using RT-PCR and in-situ hybridization, both corneal and peritoneal neutrophils were shown to be sources of iNOS and TNF alpha molecules which likely contribute to antiviral activity. Neutrophils also produce the cytokine IL-12, a key molecule which modulates the CD4+ T cell response to a type which mediates immunopathology. The present results indicate that neutrophils play an important role in the pathogenesis of herpetic ocular lesions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Interleukin-12 / metabolism*
  • Keratitis, Herpetic / metabolism*
  • Keratitis, Herpetic / virology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Neutrophils / metabolism*
  • Neutrophils / virology
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-12
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase