Mice were treated with serum containing antibodies to herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or normal serum, 1 day before inoculation on the cornea with HSV-1 strain McKrae. As expected, without passive immunization, mice developed high levels of serum neutralizing antibody. By contrast, in passively immunized animals, such antibody became undetectable by 29 days after inoculation of serum, in spite of the virus infection. There was no difference between passively immunized mice and those given normal serum in the duration of shedding of virus in tears and the duration and severity of corneal epithelial disease. However, non-immunized mice had a high incidence of mortality and developed disease of the iris, corneal stroma and lids, and their corneas became opaque and vascularized. In non-immunized animals, the timing of isolation of virus from nervous tissues and the sequence of appearance of virus antigens in ocular tissues indicate that the disease of deeper eye tissue was caused by virus spreading from the nervous system back to the eye. Restriction of such spread in passively immunized animals seems the likely explanation for their protection from death and severe ocular damage. Despite this restricted spread, passively immunized animals had a high incidence of latent infection in the ophthalmic part of the trigeminal ganglion. However, in comparison with mice given normal serum, there was a far lower incidence of such infection in the other two parts of this ganglion and in the superior cervical ganglion. Since passively immunized animals have a high incidence of latent infection in the ophthalmic part of the trigeminal ganglion and their eyes are normal, they will prove useful in studies involving induction of recurrent disease.


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