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Subspecialties Cornea / Ocular Surface

Sweet Revelation

Once someone is infected with herpes simplex virus (HSV), they have it for life. But whilst persistent oral infection means recurrent bothersome and painful cold sores, persistent infection of corneal epithelium can cause keratitis – and the symptoms can persevere even when the episode of viral infection has cleared. How and why HSV-1-induced inflammation continues to plague the cornea once infection subsides has so far been somewhat of a mystery… until now.

Enter a team from the University of Illinois at Chicago, USA, who have shown that heparanase, an extracellular enzyme that breaks down the glycosaminoglycan heparan sulfate (HS), drives the pathogenesis of HSV-1 corneal infection (1) (Figure 1). Their key findings?

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About the Author

Ruth Steer

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