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July 1989

Ocular Varicella-Zoster Virus Infection in the Guinea PigA New In Vivo Model

Author Affiliations

From the Eye Research Institute of Retina Foundation and the Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1989;107(7):1068-1072. doi:10.1001/archopht.1989.01070020130046

• Corneal intrastromal inoculation of guinea pigs with approximately 104 plaque-forming units of live, adapted varicella-zoster virus (VZV) resulted in reproducible, acute, superficial corneal disease in all animals. The culture-positive VZV ocular infection progressed to involve 30% to 40% of the corneal surface in a diffuse punctate keratitis and 10% to 15% of this surface with microdendrites, characteristic of VZV-induced ocular disease. Retrograde dissemination of VZV to the trigeminal ganglia, midbrain, cerebellum, and superior cervical ganglia was demonstrated by whole-cell coculture VZV recovery. Central nervous system VZV dissemination, manifested by transient neurologic symptoms and pneumonitis, was evident in 60% of the animals. Varicella-zoster virus spread to the trigeminal ganglion during acute and early-latent infection was evident by electron microscopy.