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Otolaryngology - Respiratory Medicine - Virology

Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Penetrates the Basement Membrane in Human Nasal Respiratory Mucosa
Published: Friday, July 15, 2011
Author: Sarah Glorieux et al.

by Sarah Glorieux, Claus Bachert, Herman W. Favoreel, Annelies P. Vandekerckhove, Lennert Steukers, Anamaria Rekecki, Wim Van den Broeck, Joline Goossens, Siska Croubels, Reginald F. Clayton, Hans J. Nauwynck


Herpes simplex virus infections are highly prevalent in humans. However, the current therapeutics suffer important drawbacks such as limited results in neonates, increasing occurrence of resistance and impeded treatment of stromal infections. Remarkably, interactions of herpesviruses with human mucosa, the locus of infection, remain poorly understood and the underlying mechanisms in stromal infection remain controversial.

Methodology/Principal Findings

A human model consisting of nasal respiratory mucosa explants was characterised. Viability and integrity were examined during 96 h of cultivation. HSV1-mucosa interactions were analysed. In particular, we investigated whether HSV1 is able to reach the stroma.Explant viability and integrity remained preserved. HSV1 induced rounding up and loosening of epithelial cells with very few apoptotic and necrotic cells observed. Following 16–24 h of infection, HSV1 penetrated the basement membrane and replicated in the underlying lamina propria.


This human explant model can be used to study virus-mucosa interactions and viral mucosal invasion mechanisms. Using this model, our results provide a novel insight into the HSV1 stromal invasion mechanism and for the first time directly demonstrate that HSV1 can penetrate the basement membrane.