The role of CD4 and CD8 cytotoxic T lymphocytes in the formation of viral vesicles

Shin Morizane, D. Suzuki, K. Tsuji, Takashi Oono, Keiji Iwatsuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Herpetic vesicles caused by herpes simplex virus and varicella zoster virus, and hydroa vacciniforme (HV) are characterized by umbilicated vesicule formation. Objectives: To understand the histogenesis of umbilicated vesicles in herpetic vesicles and HV, we demonstrated the presence of the virus-associated molecules in the lesions, and the pathogenic role of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) immune responses. Methods: Phenotyping of infiltrating cells was carried out in biopsy specimens from herpes simplex, varicella, herpes zoster and HV, and compared with nonviral contact dermatitis. Viral antigens and Epstein-Barr virus-encoded small nuclear RNA (EBER) were detected by immunostaining and by in situ hybridization, respectively. Infiltrating CTLs expressing granzyme B and granulysin were determined by double immunostaining using confocal laser scanning microscopy. Results: In all herpetic vesicles, the corresponding viral antigens were observed in the cytopathic keratinocytes, and infiltration of lymphoid cells was present in the upper dermis and around the vessels. In all HV lesions studied, EBER+ T cells made up 5-10% of the dermal infiltrates and the dermal infiltrates contained almost no CD56 cells. CTLs expressing granzyme B and granulysin were present in both herpetic and HV lesions, in which they made up 10-30% of the total dermal infiltrates, whereas they comprised less than 5% of the infiltrates of biopsy specimens from nonviral contact dermatitis. Confocal laser microscopic examination demonstrated that both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells expressed granzyme B and granulysin. Conclusions: CD4+ and/or CD8+ CTLs reactive to the virus-infected cells might be responsible for the histogenesis of herpetic and HV lesions characterized by umbilicated vesicles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)981-986
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005


  • Cytotoxic T lymphocytes
  • Granulysin
  • Gronzyme B
  • Hydroa vacciniforme
  • Viral vesicles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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