July 11, 2017

One of the symptoms of herpes simplex virus-1 infection of the eye is lingering inflammation of the cornea – the clear outer layer of the eyeball. But without blood vessels, it has long puzzled researchers how this tissue becomes inflamed after trauma or infection. For an inflammatory response to occur, immune cells need to be present, and these cells travel throughout the body in blood.

Now, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have identified an enzyme present in the cornea that becomes dramatically upregulated and triggers inflammation during and even after a herpes virus infection has cleared.