Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus Infections.

Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1600 Seventh Avenue South, CHB 308, Birmingham, AL 35233, USA.
Pediatric Clinics of North America (Impact Factor: 2.2). 04/2013; 60(2):351-365. DOI: 10.1016/j.pcl.2012.12.005
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Neonatal herpes simplex virus infections are uncommon, but because of the morbidity and mortality associated with the infection they are often considered in the differential diagnosis of ill neonates. The use of polymerase chain reaction for diagnosis of central nervous system infections and the development of safe and effective antiviral therapy has revolutionized the diagnosis and management of these infants. Initiation of long-term antiviral suppressive therapy in these infants has led to significant improvement in morbidity. This article summarizes the epidemiology of neonatal herpes simplex virus infections and discusses clinical presentation, diagnosis, management, and follow up of infants with neonatal herpes disease.

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    ABSTRACT: Newborns are more susceptible to severe disease from infection than adults, with maturation of immune responses implicated as a major factor. The type I interferon response delays mortality and limits viral replication in adult mice in a model of herpes simplex virus (HSV) encephalitis. We found that intact type I interferon signaling did not control HSV disease in the neonatal brain. However, the multifunctional HSV protein γ34.5 involved in countering type I interferon responses was important for virulence in the brain in both age groups. To investigate this observation further, we studied a specific function of γ34.5 which contributes to HSV pathogenesis in the adult brain, inhibition of the cellular process of autophagy. Surprisingly, we found that the beclin binding domain of γ34.5 responsible for inhibiting autophagy was dispensable for HSV disease in the neonatal brain, as infection of newborns with the deletion mutant decreased time to mortality compared to the rescue virus. Additionally, a functional beclin binding domain in HSV γ34.5 did not effectively inhibit autophagy in the neonate, unlike in the adult. Type I IFN responses promote autophagy in adult, a finding we confirmed in the adult brain after HSV infection; however, in the newborn brain we observed that autophagy was activated through a type I IFN-independent mechanism. Furthermore, autophagy in the wild-type neonatal mouse was associated with increased apoptosis in infected regions of the brain. Observations in the mouse model were consistent with those in a human case of neonatal HSV encephalitis. Our findings reveal age-dependent differences in autophagy for protection from HSV encephalitis, indicating developmental differences in induction and regulation of this innate defense mechanism after HSV infection in the neonatal brain.
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    08/2014, Degree: MSc, Supervisor: Fiorenzo Vetrone
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