Ocular infection with herpes simplex virus leads to an inflammatory lesion in the cornea orchestrated by CD4+ Th1 lymphocytes. This immunopathologic disease, called herpetic stromal keratitis, is an important cause of impaired vision. In this study, we set out to determine whether established lesions of herpetic stromal keratitis could be controlled by topically administering naked plasmid DNA encoding cytokines to the corneal surface. A single topical administration of DNA encoding IL-10 was beneficial to the majority (75%) of treated animals, and 50% (vs 10% in controls) resolved their lesions completely over a 23-day observation period. Topical ocular application of DNA encoding foreign proteins was also shown to be an effective means of inducing systemic and mucosal immune responses. The direct application of DNA encoding cytokines may represent an additional therapeutic option for the management of immunoinflammatory disease.
- Copyright © 1997 by American Association of Immunologists