CELLULAR IMMUNOLOGY, vol.370, 2021 (SCI-Expanded)
Infection of the cornea with HSV results in an immune-inflammatory reaction orchestrated by proinflammatory T cells that is a major cause of human vision impairment. The severity of lesions can be reduced if the represen-tation of inflammatory T cells is changed to increase the presence of T cells with regulatory function. This report shows that inhibiting glutamine metabolism using 6-Diazo-5-oxo-L-norleucine (DON) administered via intra-peritoneal (IP) starting 6 days after ocular infection and continued until day 15 significantly reduced the severity of herpetic stromal keratitis lesions. The therapy resulted in reduced neutrophils, macrophages as well proin-flammatory CD4 Th1 and Th17 T cells in the cornea, but had no effect on levels of regulatory T cells. A similar change in the representation of inflammatory and regulatory T cells occurred in the trigeminal ganglion (TG) the site where HSV infection establishes latency. Glutamine metabolism was shown to be required for the in-vitro optimal induction of both Th1 and Th17 T cells but not for the induction of Treg that were increased when glutamine metabolism was inhibited. Inhibiting glutamine metabolism also changed the ability of latently infected TG cells from animals previously infected with HSV to reactivate and produce infectious virus.