Experimental oral herpes simplex Virus-1 (HSV-1) co-infection in Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV)-infected rhesus macaques

Meropi Aravantinou, Olga Mizenina, Giulia Calenda, Jessica Kenney, Ines Frank, Jeffrey D. Lifson, Moriah Szpara, Lichen Jing, David M. Koelle, Natalia Teleshova, Brooke Grasperge, James Blanchard, Agegnehu Gettie, Elena Martinelli, Nina Derby

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6 Scopus citations


Herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 (HSV-1/2) similarly initiate infection in mucosal epithelia and establish lifelong neuronal latency. Anogenital HSV-2 infection augments the risk for sexual human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission and is associated with higher HIV viral loads. However, whether oral HSV-1 infection contributes to oral HIV susceptibility, viremia, or oral complications of HIV infection is unknown. Appropriate non-human primate (NHP) models would facilitate this investigation, yet there are no published studies of HSV-1/SIV co-infection in NHPs. Thus, we performed a pilot study for an oral HSV-1 infection model in SIV-infected rhesus macaques to describe the feasibility of the modeling and resultant immunological changes. Three SIV-infected, clinically healthy macaques became HSV-1-infected by inoculation with 4 × 108 pfu HSV-1 McKrae on buccal, tongue, gingiva, and tonsils after gentle abrasion. HSV-1 DNA was shed in oral swabs for up to 21 days, and shedding recurred in association with intra-oral lesions after periods of no shedding during 56 days of follow up. HSV-1 DNA was detected in explant cultures of trigeminal ganglia collected at euthanasia on day 56. In the macaque with lowest baseline SIV viremia, SIV plasma RNA increased following HSV-1 infection. One macaque exhibited an acute pro-inflammatory response, and all three animals experienced T cell activation and mobilization in blood. However, T cell and antibody responses to HSV-1 were low and atypical. Through rigorous assessesments, this study finds that the virulent HSV-1 strain McKrae resulted in a low level HSV-1 infection that elicited modest immune responses and transiently modulated SIV infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2342
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberDEC
StatePublished - Dec 5 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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