Aim: Recent phylogenetic analyses on the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) genes US4, encoding glycoprotein G (gG) and US7, encoding gI, of clinical HSV-1 isolates have led to the classification of HSV-1 into three genotypes, arbitrarily designated as A, B and C. The prevalence of the HSV-1 gG and gI genotypes and their potential disease association was determined in a large cohort of patients with herpetic keratitis (HK).
Methods: Primary corneal HSV-1 isolates of 178 HK patients were genotyped by a PCR-based restriction fragment length polymorphism method targeting the viral genes US4 and US7.
Results: Genotype B was more frequently expressed by the corneal HSV-1 isolates compared with genotypes A and C. Fifty-five of 178 corneal isolates (31%) had different genotypes in both loci. No clinically relevant associations were observed between the HSV-1 genotypes and disease outcome in the HK patients studied.
Conclusions: The data presented demonstrate a high frequency of recombinant corneal HSV-1 isolates and suggest that clinical outcome of HSV-1-induced keratitis is independent of a gG or gI genotype.
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Funding: The study was financially supported by grants from Stichting Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Oogziekenhuis, Algemene Nederlandse Vereniging ter Voorkoming van Blindheid, and Hoornvlies Stichting Nederland, Stichting OOG and Stichting voor Ooglijders (RD, JMvD).
Competing interests: None.
Ethics approval: The study was performed according to the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki, approved by the local ethical committee.
Patient consent: Obtained.