Mimicking Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and Herpes Simplex Virus 2 Mucosal Behavior in a Well-Characterized Human Genital Organ Culture

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We developed and morphologically characterized a human genital mucosa explant model (endocervix and ectocervix/vagina) to mimic genital herpes infections caused by herpes simplex virus types 1 (HSV-1) and 2 (HSV-2). Subsequent analysis of HSV entry receptor expression throughout the menstrual cycle in genital tissues was performed, and the evolution of HSV-1/-2 mucosal spread over time was assessed. Nectin-1 and -2 were expressed in all tissues during the entire menstrual cycle. Herpesvirus entry mediator expression was limited mainly to some connective tissue cells. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 exhibited a plaque-wise mucosal spread across the basement membrane and induced prominent epithelial syncytia.

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