Immunomodulation by roquinimex decreases the expression of IL-23 (p19) mRNA in the brains of herpes simplex virus type 1 infected BALB/c mice

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SUMMARYHerpes simplex virus (HSV) is a common neurotropic virus which infects epithelial cells and subsequently the trigeminal ganglia (TG) and brain tissue. We studied how immunomodulation with roquinimex (Linomide®) affects the course of corneal HSV infection in BALB/c mice. BALB/c mice have also been used in a model for HSV-based vectors in treating an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS). We addressed the questions of how immunomodulation affects the local as well as the systemic immune response and whether roquinimex could facilitate the spread of HSV to the CNS. The cytokine response in the brain and TG was studied using a quantitative rapid real-time RT-PCR method. We were interested in whether immunomodulation affects the expression of the recently described Th1-cytokine IL-23p19 in the brain and TG. The expression of IL-23 mRNA was decreased in brains of roquinimex-treated BALB/c mice. Also the expression of IL-12p35 and IFN-γ mRNAs decreased. No significant changes were seen in IL-4 and IL-10 mRNA expression. The cytokine response was also studied using supernatants of stimulated splenocytes by EIA. Roquinimex treatment suppressed the production of IFN-γ and also the production of IL-10 in HSV-infected BALB/c mice.

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