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The Chemokine CCL5 Is Essential for Leukocyte Recruitment in a Model of Severe Herpes simplex Encephalitis


Address for correspondence: Antônio Lúcio Teixeira, Departamento de Clínica Médica, Faculdade de Medicina, UFMG, Av. Alfredo Balena, 190. Santa Efigênia, Belo Horizonte, Brazil 30130-100. Voice/fax: 55-31-34092651.


The Herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) is responsible for several clinical manifestations in humans, including encephalitis. To induce encephalitis, C57BL/6 mice were inoculated with 104 plaque-forming cells of HSV-1 by the intracranial route. Met-RANTES (regulated upon activation, normal T cell expressed and presumably secreted) (10 μg/mouse), a CC chemokine family receptor (CCR)1 and CCR5 antagonist, was given subcutaneously the day before, immediately after, and at days 1, 2, and 3 after infection. Treatment with Met-RANTES had no effect on the viral titers. In contrast, intravital microscopy revealed that treatment with Met-RANTES decreased the number of leukocytes adherent to the pial microvasculature at days 1 and 3 after infection. The levels of the chemokines CCL3, CCL5, CXCL1, and CXCL9 increased after infection and were enhanced further by the treatment with Met-RANTES. Treatment with a polyclonal anti-CCL5 antibody 2 h before the intravital microscopy decreased leukocyte adhesion in the microcirculation of infected mice. In conclusion, CCL5, a chemokine that binds to CCR1 and CCR5, is essential for leukocyte adhesion during HSV-1 encephalitis. However, blocking of CCR1 and CCR5 did not affect HSV-1 replication, suggesting that other immune mechanisms are involved in the process of infection control.