HSV (Type 1) infection of the trigeminal complex

Jennifer H. LaVail, Junni Zhan, Todd P. Margolis

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19 Scopus citations


Following corneal inoculation with herpes simplex virus (Type 1) (HSV), virus spreads to the CNS by axonal transport in the central branches of trigeminal ganglion cell neurons. Although this mode of viral entry to the CNS is rare for humans, it appears to be the principal route of entry into the CNS in animal models of herpetic corneal disease. In this study, the corneas of BALB/c mice were unilaterally inoculated with HSV, and the distribution of HSV-immunoreactive label was studied to identify the central branches of the axons of infected trigeminal ganglion cells. Virus was first noted in the brainstem trigeminal complex 4 days after corneal inoculation, when HSV-labeled afferents were found throughout the course of the descending tract of V as well as in interstitial neurons in the tract. By 5 days labeled neurons were also found not only in the n. caudalis and portions of the n. interpolaris of the trigeminal complex but also in laminae I-IV of the dorsal horn of the upper cervical levels of the spinal cord. No immunoreactivity was seen in other regions of the complex, including the n. oralis or the main sensory n. of V. By 6 days, however, the infection had spread to the main sensory division of V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-188
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 30 1990


  • Axonal transport
  • Cornea
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Interstitial system
  • Trigeminal


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