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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Infectious Diseases - Microbiology - Pathology - Physiology - Urology - Virology

Herpes Simplex Virus-Induced Epithelial Damage and Susceptibility to Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Infection in Human Cervical Organ Culture
Published: Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Author: Julie E. Horbul et al.

by Julie E. Horbul, Stephen C. Schmechel, Barrie R. L. Miller, Stephen A. Rice, Peter J. Southern

Normal human premenopausal cervical tissue has been used to derive primary cell populations and to establish ex vivo organ culture systems to study infections with herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 or HSV-2) and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Infection with either HSV-1 or HSV-2 rapidly induced multinuclear giant cell formation and widespread damage in mucosal epithelial cells. Subsequent exposure of the damaged mucosal surfaces to HIV-1 revealed frequent co-localization of HSV and HIV-1 antigens. The short-term organ culture system provides direct experimental support for the epidemiological findings that pre-existing sexually transmitted infections, including primary and recurrent herpes virus infections at mucosal surfaces, represent major risk factors for acquisition of primary HIV-1 infection. Epithelial damage in combination with pre-existing inflammation, as described here for overtly normal human premenopausal cervix, creates a highly susceptible environment for the initiation and establishment of primary HIV-1 infection in the sub-mucosa of the cervical transformation zone.
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