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Regulation by recombinant interleukin-2 of protective immunity against recurrent herpes simplex virus type 2 genital infection in guinea pigs.

By A Weinberg, M Konrad and T C Merigan


The goal of our study was to determine whether recombinant interleukin-2 (rIL-2) could modify the recurrence pattern of chronic herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) genital infection in guinea pigs. Animals that developed symptomatic acute HSV-2 infection were distributed at 14 days after viral inoculation into several treatment groups, which were similar with respect to the severity of acute disease. Three rIL-2 dosages administered for 4 weeks in daily subcutaneous injections were tested in this study: 5 X 10(3), 5 X 10(4), and 2.5 X 10(5) U. Daily observations of the animals showed a significant decrease of the incidence of new recurrent lesions with the use of 5 X 10(4) U of rIL-2 (rate of recurrence, 0.08, compared with 0.21 in untreated controls), whereas the other rIL-2 regimens did not affect the overall rate of recurrence. Weekly analysis of recurrences showed that treatment with 5 X 10(4) U of rIL-2 was effective only during the first 3 weeks of use and that 2.5 X 10(5) U of rIL-2 markedly decreased the rate of recurrence in the first week of treatment but not in subsequent weeks. The loss of clinical protection in both groups coincided with the production of neutralizing antibodies to rIL-2. The immune mechanisms possibly involved in the protective effect of rIL-2 in chronic HSV-2 disease were further investigated. Production of gamma interferon correlated well with clinical protection, and circulating levels dropped at the time when neutralizing antibodies to rIL-2 developed. Nonspecific cytotoxicity represented by natural killer cell and lymphokine-activated killer cell activities was also increased in the treated guinea pigs. Antibody titers and lymphocyte proliferation to herpes simplex antigen were similar in rIL-2 and placebo recipients. Finally, we found that the rIL-2-induced immune stimulation was as protective against recurrent HSV-2 disease in guinea pigs as the viral suppression achieved with acyclovir. However, the biological activity of both drugs was not additive when they were coadministered

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1987
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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