B cell responses of Balb/c mice were suppressed using sheep anti-mouse IgM serum. At 4 weeks, both B cell-suppressed and normal littermates were infected in the ear pinna with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). The B cell-suppressed mice failed to produce neutralizing herpes antibodies in their sera but had a normal cell-mediated immunity (CMI) response as measured by a delayed hypersensitivity skin test. Although the infection was eliminated from the ear in both B cell-suppressed and normal mice by day 10 after infection, there was an indication that B cell-suppressed mice had a more florid primary infection of the peripheral and central nervous system and also a higher incidence of a latent infection. These results support the hypothesis that antibody is important in restricting the spread of virus to the central nervous system, whereas CMI is important in clearing the primary infection in the ear pinna.


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