Stimuli such as u.v. light or trauma which induce recurrence of herpes simplex may act by affecting virus replication in the skin. Such stimuli release pharmacologically active agents in the skin, including prostaglandins (PGs) such as PGE. These agents, and other compounds which alter levels of adenosine cyclic monophosphate (cyclic AMP), were tested for their effect on the replication of herpes simplex virus (HSV) in Vero cells.

Prostaglandin E (PGE) and prostaglandin F both increase the size of HSV plaques; PGE also increases the yield of virus inoculated at low m.o.i. Moreover, inhibitors of prostaglandin synthesis decrease plaque size and inhibit the growth of virus inoculated at low m.o.i.; such inhibition can be partially overcome by adding PGE. Analysis of the results suggest that prostaglandins can enhance cell-to-cell spread of HSV, but that cyclic AMP is probably not involved in this effect.


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