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October 1972

Latent Herpes Simplex Virus: Isolation From Rabbit Trigeminal Ganglia Between Episodes of Recurrent Ocular Infection

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles
From the Infectious Disease Research Unit, Estelle Doheny Eye Foundation Laboratory (Dr. Nesburn), and the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, UCLA (Drs. Cook and Stevens), Los Angeles.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1972;88(4):412-417. doi:10.1001/archopht.1972.01000030414012

The unscarified eyes of 14 male New Zealand albino rabbits were infected with herpes simplex virus. Most eyes (26 of 28) exhibited recurrent ocular infection. Four to nine months after original infection and between episodes of recurrence, all animals were killed. Conjunctiva, nictitating membrane, lacrimal gland, cornea, iris, preganglionic trigeminal nerve, trigeminal ganglia, and brain tissue containing the trigeminal nerve nucleus were removed from each animal and tested for virus. Herpes simplex virus was recovered only from trigeminal ganglia and only from those portions maintained as organ cultures. Nineteen of 26 ganglia (73%) were positive. These results are consistent with the theory that sensory ganglia act as reservoirs of herpes simplex virus between attacks of overt disease.