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The Kinetics of Herpes Virus on the Ocular Surface and Suppression of Its Reactivation

Shimomura, Yoshikazu MD, PhD; Higaki, Shiro MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e3182282005

Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) establishes a latent infection in sensory neurons that can sometimes be reactivated. HSV-1 keratitis often recurs and can be vision threatening. Reactivation of the latent virus can be stimulated by stress, immunosuppression, trauma, adrenergic iontophoresis, and UV radiation. Healthy and asymptomatic individuals are known to shed HSV-1, and this is a major factor in the spread of the virus. We investigated the frequency of shedding of HSV-1 DNA in tears of dry eye patients and individuals with conjunctivitis. Subjects were divided into 3 groups: normal (12 eyes), dry eye (11 eyes), and conjunctivitis (15 eyes). Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction was used for HSV DNA detection. The incidences of HSV positivity in the normal, dry eye, and conjunctivitis groups were 1 of 12 (8.3%), 3 of 11 (27.3%), and 4 of 15 (26.7%), respectively. We have previously shown that bromfenac sodium eye drops, intramuscular adenosine monophosphate, and geldanamycin effectively lower HSV-1 recurrence rates in a mouse model. Recently, we also found that nuclear factor κ-B, an IκB kinase-β inhibitor, could be a candidate for reducing HSV-1 reactivation. We sampled recipients' corneal buttons during keratoplasty and performed polymerase chain reaction. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) DNA was detected in corneas obtained from some patients, and the copy number of the detected CMV DNA was quantified. CMV DNA–positive samples were taken from 2 of the 3 patients with ocular pemphigoid; thus, in future work, the relationship between CMV in the cornea and the incidence/onset of ocular diseases of the anterior segment needs to be evaluated.

From the Faculty of Medicine, Kinki University, Osaka, Japan.

The authors declare no financial disclosures or conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Yoshikazu Shimomura, Faculty of Medicine, Kinki University, 377-2 Ono-Higashi, Osaka-sayama, Osaka 589-8511, Japan (e-mail:

Copyright © 2011 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.