Histopathologic study of herpes virus-induced retinitis in athymic BALB/c mice: Evidence for an immunopathogenic process

Sally S. Atherton, Norman H. Altman, J. Wayne Streilein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In order to determine whether antiviral immunity is pathogenic in mouse eyes, HSV-1 was injected into the anterior chamber of one eye of adult athymic BALB/c mice. The eyes of these T cell deficient mice were examined clinically and histopathologically for ocular disease. The anterior segment of injected eyes developed progressive inflammatory reactions that eventually destroyed the ciliary body and then progressed to the posterior compartment where partial necrosis occurred, but only in the inner layers of the retina. A milder form of the same process developed between 7 and 10 days in the contralateral eye. Uninoculated eyes displayed little evidence of choroiditis, hemorrhage, massive necrosis, or disintegration of the architecture of the retina. Since these are features that are found in contralateral retinas of euthymic BALB/c mice infected in one eye via the anterior chamber route, it is concluded that acute retinitis found in contralateral eyes of immunocompetent mice has an immunopathogenic basis. However since euthymic mice develop anterior chamber associated immune deviation (ACAID) (and therefore do not display virus-specific delayed hypersensitivity), the identity of the relevant immune effector remains unknown. Based on these observations and our previous ocular findings following intracameral inoculation of HSV-2, we suggest that in susceptible mice, herpes simplex viruses can induce several pathogenetically distinct forms of retinitis, some of which are mediated by virus-specific immune effector cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1179-1192
Number of pages14
JournalCurrent Eye Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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