Rabbits were inoculated in the left cornea with one of three strains of herpes simplex virus (HSV) i.e. HSV-1 strain 17, HSV-1 strain McKrae, HSV-2 strain HG52, or with an HSV-1 McKrae/HSV-2 HG52 recombinant R40/2. Fifty-nine to 67 days after inoculation trigeminal ganglia and corneas were explanted and screened for release of infectious virus. Virus was isolated from all left trigeminal ganglia after organ culture irrespective of viral strain. Virus was isolated from three of 16 corneas of animals inoculated with HSV-1 strain McKrae and from one of four corneas from animals inoculated with the HSV-1/HSV-2 recombinant. The isolation of HSV from explanted corneas, after between 15 and 35 days in organ culture suggests that the cornea may be a site additional to dorsal root ganglia where latent HSV can reside in rabbits.

Keyword(s): corneal cells , HSV and latency

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