The Efficacy of a DNA Vaccine Encoding Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1) Glycoprotein D in Decreasing Ocular Disease Severity Following Corneal HSV-1 Challenge

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Antiviral effects of a DNA vaccine against herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) glycoprotein D (gD) were evaluated in eight week-old female BALB/c mice. The nuclease-insensitive construct (gD-ASOR) consisted of an HSV-1 gD encoding plasmid coupled to asialo orosomucoid (ASOR), targeting it to cells bearing ASOR receptors. Mice were immunized on day 0 and 7 with 10 μg doses of gD-ASOR or control substances. Fourteen days later, mice were infected by the corneal route with 105 pfu or 106 pfu HSV-1, strain 17syn+. Immunized mice showed a significant decrease in ocular disease severity over a 21-day observation period following infection compared to sham-immunized mice. Acute replication kinetic assays demonstrated a 100-fold decrease in viral titers on day 6 in trigeminal ganglia from immunized BALB/c mice compared to sham-immunized mice. Immunized mice showed a significant increase in numbers of CD4+T cells infiltrating the trigeminal ganglia at day 6 post infection compared to sham-immunized mice. Significant differences were not seen in latent viral reservoir between immunized and unimmunized mouse groups. Immunization with gD-ASOR decreased the severity of acute ocular HSV-1 infection, induced a CD4+ T cell response, decreased the viral load in the trigeminal ganglia, but did not diminish viral latency.



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