Distribution of Herpes Simplex Virus Types 1 and 2 Genomes in Human Spinal Ganglia Studied by PCR and In Situ Hybridization

Distribution of Herpes Simplex Virus Types 1 and 2 Genomes in Human Spinal Ganglia Studied by PCR and In Situ Hybridization

Distribution of Herpes Simplex Virus Types 1 and 2 Genomes in Human Spinal Ganglia Studied by PCR and In Situ Hybridization

Abstract

Clinical data indicate that the recurring herpes simplex virus (HSV) from oro-labial lesions is HSV subtype 1 and that the virus from genital lesions is HSV-2. This suggests that HSV-1 and HSV-2 reside in latent forms in the trigeminal ganglia and sacral ganglia, respectively. However, the distributionof latent HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections in human spinal ganglia has not been fully examined. This report concerns the application of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and in situ hybridization (ISH) to such a study. By using PCR and employing the respective primers, HSV-1 and HSV-2 DNAs were detected in 207 of 524 samples from 262 spinal ganglia (from the cervical to the sacral ganglia) examined on both sides. The percentages of HSV-1and HSV-2 detected in a given set of ganglia were similar, indicating an absence of site preference. By ISH, few but positive hybridization signals were detected evenly in sacral ganglia sections. The data suggest that regional specificity of recurrent HSV infections is not due to regionaldistribution of latent virus, but that local host factors may be important for recurrences.

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