Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) causes lethal illness after intravaginal (IVAG) inoculation into BALB/cJ mice. In the present studies, we demonstrated in mice that primary IVAG vaccination with an attenuated strain of HSV-2 induced humoral immunity in sera and in vaginal secretions. Secondary genital exposure to HSV-2 enhanced this response. However, intraperitoneal exposure to attenuated HSV-2 elicited an antiviral antibody response in sera but not in vaginal secretions. In both sera and vaginal secretions, antiviral IgG antibodies were the major isotype. Systemic exposure to HSV-2 elicited antibodies only in sera that were specific for the major viral antigens whereas IVAG inoculation with HSV-2 stimulated both serum and vaginal antibody responses. Intravenous transfer of antiviral monoclonal antibodies protected against systemic HSV-2 infection but were ineffective against vaginal infection due to a lack of transudation into vaginal secretions. These results suggested that local humoral immunity in the genital tract is important in resistance to HSV-2.


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