A monoclonal antibody (MAb 2c) specific for glycoprotein B of herpes simplex virus (HSV) mediated clearance of the virus from the infected mucous membranes. Young adult C57BL/6J mice were inoculated intravaginally with HSV type 1 and injected intraperitoneally either 24 and 72 h or 65 and 265 h post-inoculation with a polyclonal immune serum or the MAb 2c, both adjusted to the same neutralizing capacity. Immunization with the polyclonal immune serum did not alter the duration of virus shedding from the genital mucous membranes although a lethal outcome of infection was clearly prevented. Immunization with the MAb, however, resulted in a rapid clearance of the virus from the genital tract thus completely inhibiting genital inflammation and lethality. The same effects were achieved in mice depleted of CD4 T cells although peripheral virus replication continued longer in these mice. In mice depleted of both CD4 and CD8 T cells the polyclonal immune serum was no longer able to protect against lethality, and virus replication in the mucous membranes persisted until the mice died. In contrast, after treatment with the MAb peripheral infection was quickly eliminated and all mice survived. These findings indicate that clearance of the virus from the primary site of replication can be mediated by humoral immunity. The relevance of this observation for vaccination against HSV is discussed.


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