Intraperitoneal infection of mice and rats by herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) but not type 1 (HSV-1) resulted in suppression of antibody formation on subsequent challenge with HSV-1 or HSV-2. Application of silica considerably enhanced antibody formation after primary HSV-1 infection, but only slightly after primary HSV-2 infection. Suppression induced by HSV-2 was, however, reduced significantly by injection of silica 21 days later, on the day of the second injection of HSV-2. Suppression could be detected soon after infection by HSV-2. The degree of this suppression depended on the dose of the injected virus and was abolished by u.v. irradiation of the virus prior to inoculation. Likewise the weak antibody response induced by HSV-2 was abolished for both neutralizing and ELISA antibodies. Infections with HSV-1 evoked considerable numbers of HSV-specific antibody-producing B cells, when assessed by an enzyme-linked immunospot assay. The B cell response to HSV-2, however, was very weak. Silica considerably enhanced the number of specific antibody-producing B cells only during primary HSV-1 infections. The present results in combination with earlier data demonstrate the central role of macrophages, which seem to be the primary target affected by silica, for enhancement and suppression of HSV-induced antibody generation.


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