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Forum URL: http://herpeshomepage.com/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi
Forum Name: Technical
Topic ID: 2533
Message ID: 15
#15, RE: I think you understand it fine.. ...and so do I.
Posted by BH on Oct-23-06 at 10:04 PM
In response to message #13
Hi Jess,

First off, great question! Unfortunately, like many great questions, there is no definitive answer yet for why some people get lots of herpes outbreaks, and other people do not. There are several possibilities, but I don't think we really know. There are many CLAIMS about why, but not much clear-cut proof.

The slipping under the radar analogy I gave is perhaps explained better on my website.... http://vmb.montana.edu/faculty/halford/Virologyoflatentinfections.htm

However, this portion of my website is a bit techie, so I don't know how useful it is to you. So, I'll try and explain here.

The big things I was trying to point out about latent HSV infection before are the three following points:
1) for HSV-infected cells to avoid being killed by the T cells they have to shut down infectious virus production for long periods of time (weeks to months to years). Your immune cells see foreign (viral) proteins. As long as the virus (a piece of DNA) can shut itself down, it can hide from the immune cells.

2) Most viruses cannot turn themselves off to avoid being nuked by your immune cells.....thus, you get infected with the flu, and your immune cells eventually clear it from your body

3) Although HSV may be latent in most of your 10,000-odd-infected neurons (hidden) at any given time, there is always a neuron or two that is re-initiating the production of more infectious virus that can be shed / spread.

The common denominator with ALL persistent infections (HIV, herpes, TB) is that the bug has to have a way to cool its engines when the host immune cells close in for the kill....thus, these agents all tend to oscillate between states of active replication when the coast is clear (the host response weakens) and inactivity (latency/dormancy) when the host response heats up.