17-beta estradiol promotion of herpes simplex virus type 1 reactivation is estrogen receptor dependent.Correlations between estrogen and herpes simplex virus (HSV) reactivation from latency have been suggested by numerous clinical reports, but causal associations are not well delineated. In a murine HSV-1 corneal infection model, we establish 17-beta estradiol (17-betaE) treatment of latently infected ovariectomized mice induces viral reactivation, as demonstrated by increased viral load and increased immediate-early viral gene expression in the latently infected trigeminal ganglia (TG). Interestingly, the increased HSV reactivation occurred in the absence of inhibition of viral specific CD8(+) T-cell effector function. 17-betaE administration increased HSV reactivation in CD45(+) cell-depleted TG explant cultures, providing further support that leukocyte-independent effects on latently infected neurons were responsible for the increased reactivation. The drug-induced increases in HSV copy number were not recapitulated upon in vivo treatment of latently infected estrogen receptor alpha-deficient mice, evidence that HSV reactivation promoted by 17-betaE was estrogen receptor dependent. These findings provide additional framework for the emerging conceptualization of HSV latency as a dynamic process maintained by complex interactions among multiple cooperative and competing host, viral, and environmental forces. Additional research is needed to confirm whether pregnancy or hormonal contraceptives containing 17-betaE also promote HSV reactivation from latency in an estrogen receptor-dependent manner.
- 17-beta estradiol promotion of herpes simplex virus type 1 reactivation is estrogen receptor dependent. Vicetti Miguel, R.D., Sheridan, B.S., Harvey, S.A., Schreiner, R.S., Hendricks, R.L., Cherpes, T.L. J. Virol. (2010) [Pubmed]