Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Comparative and Experimental Medicine

Major Professor

Barry T Rouse

Committee Members

Timothy Sparer, Melissa Kennedy, Stephen Kennel


Herpetic stromal keratitis (HSK) is an immunopathological and tissue destructive corneal lesion caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection, which induces an intense inflammatory response and finally leads to blindness. Accumulating evidence using the murine model has shown that Th-1 phenotype CD4+ T cells orchestrating the inflammation mainly contribute to the immunopathological reaction in HSV-1 infected cornea. Initially various innate immune cells recruit and produce numerous inflammatory and angiogenic molecules into the corneal stroma those in turn drive the corneal immunopathology.

While the basic principles of immunity to the influenza A viruses (IAV) are probably similar for all vertebrates, detailed understanding is based largely on experiments in laboratory mice. Virus clearance is normally mediated via CD8+ effector T cells but, in their absence, the class-switched antibody response can ultimately achieve the same goal. Influenza virus-specific plasma cells and CD8+ T cells persist in the long term and the recall of the CD8+ T cell response can lead to earlier virus clearance.

The first part (Part I) of this dissertation focuses on the understanding of HSV-1 induced immunoinflammatory processes in the cornea and the secondary lymphoid tissues and the involvement of immuno-modulatory mechanisms following acute viral infections such as HSV and IAV. The next three parts (Part II-IV) focus on different inflammatory and counter-inflammatory mechanisms that are activated following acute viral infections. Results in Part II evaluate the role of small molecule inhibitors of VEGFR2/src kinase inhibitors in controlling the progression of the inflammatory lesions after ocular HSV infection. Results of the third section show that the host counter inflammatory mechanisms inhibit tissue damage but these may also act to constrain the effectiveness of immunity to acute infections. The fourth section describes the functional significance of HVEM expression on regulatory T cell in their expansion following HSV-1 infection.

In this study, experiments were designed to understand the mechanisms involved in the regulation of immunity and resultant immunopathology using HSV-1 and IAV as the model systems and that modulation of these processes can enhance immune response and diminish immunopathology following acute infections.

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