Identification and characterization of herpes simplex virus-specific CD4+ T cells in corneas of herpetic stromal keratitis patients

G M Verjans, L Remeijer, R S van Binnendijk, J G Cornelissen, H J Völker-Dieben, S G Baarsma, A D Osterhaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Herpetic stromal keratitis (HSK) is a corneal disease initiated by a herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection with a postulated T cell-mediated immunopathology. To study the antigen specificity of cornea-infiltrating T cells in HSK patients, T cells were isolated and expanded by mitogenic stimulation from corneas of 2 patients with HSV-1-mediated HSK. A substantial number of the T cell clones (TCCs) obtained from these T cell lines were HSV-specific. All HSV-specific TCCs were of the CD3+CD4+CD8- phenotype. These TCCs responded to autologous HSV-infected corneal keratocytes, which expressed HLA class II molecules following incubation with interferon-gamma. Upon HSV-specific stimulation, all TCCs secreted interleukin-4, interleukin-5, and interferon-gamma. The data presented suggest that HSV-specific CD4+ T cells play a role in the immunopathogenesis of HSK in humans and that corneal keratocytes may act as antigen-presenting cells in this local T cell response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-8
Number of pages5
JournalThe Journal of infectious diseases
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1998


  • Antigen Presentation
  • CD3 Complex/immunology
  • CD4 Antigens/immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/cytology
  • CD8 Antigens/immunology
  • Cell Division
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Clone Cells/immunology
  • Cornea/cytology
  • Cytotoxicity Tests, Immunologic
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human/immunology
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II/immunology
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma/metabolism
  • Interleukin-2/metabolism
  • Interleukin-4/metabolism
  • Interleukin-5/metabolism
  • Keratitis, Herpetic/immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/immunology


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