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Prevalence of HSV-1 LAT in human trigeminal, geniculate, and vestibular ganglia and its implication for cranial nerve syndromes

Theil, D.; Arbusow, V.; Derfuss, T.; Strupp, M.; Pfeiffer, M.; Mascolo, A.; Brandt, T.

Brain Pathology 11(4): 408-413

2001


ISSN/ISBN: 1015-6305
PMID: 11556685
DOI: 10.1111/j.1750-3639.2001.tb00408.x
Accession: 011193073

Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) enters sensory neurons and can remain latent there until reactivation. During latency restricted HSV-1 gene expression takes place in the form of latency-associated transcripts (LAT). LAT has been demonstrated to be important not only for latency but also for reactivation, which may cause cranial nerve disorders. Tissue sections of the trigeminal ganglia (TG), geniculate ganglia (GG), and the vestibular ganglia (VG) from seven subjects were examined for the presence of LAT using the in situ hybridization technique. LAT was found on both sides in all TG (100%), on both sides of five subjects (70%) in the GG, and in none of the VG. Using a second more sensitive detection method (RT-PCR), we found LAT in the VG of seven of ten other persons (70%). This is the first study to demonstrate viral latency in the VG, a finding that supports the hypothesis that vestibular neuritis is caused by HSV-1 reactivation. The distribution of LAT in the cranial nerve ganglia indicates that primary infection occurs in the TG and GG and subsequently spreads along the facio-vestibular anastomosis to the VG.

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