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Papers of the Week

Papers: 28 Sep 2019 - 4 Oct 2019

Human Studies


Front Microbiol


Persistence of a T Cell Infiltrate in Human Ganglia Years After Herpes Zoster and During Post-herpetic Neuralgia.


Sutherland JP, Steain M, Buckland ME, Rodriguez M, Cunningham AL, Slobedman B, Abendroth A
Front Microbiol. 2019; 10:2117.
PMID: 31572325.


Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is a human herpesvirus which causes varicella (chicken pox) during primary infection, establishes latency in sensory ganglia, and can reactivate from this site to cause herpes zoster (HZ) (shingles). A major complication of HZ is a severe and often debilitating pain called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) which persists long after the resolution of the HZ-associated rash. The underlying cause of PHN is not known, although it has been postulated that it may be a consequence of immune cell mediated damage. However, the nature of virus-immune cell interactions within ganglia during PHN is unknown. We obtained rare formalin fixed paraffin embedded sections cut from surgically excised ganglia from a PHN-affected patient years following HZ rash resolution. VZV DNA was readily detected by qPCR and regions of immune infiltration were detected by hematoxylin and eosin staining. Immunostaining using a range of antibodies against immune cell subsets revealed an immune cell response comprising of CD4 and CD8 T cells and CD20 B cells. This study explores the immune cell repertoire present in ganglia during PHN and provides evidence for an ongoing immune cell inflammation years after HZ.