Tissue-based T cells are important effectors in the prevention and control of mucosal viral infections – less is known about tissue-based B cells. We demonstrate that B cells and antibody-secreting cells (ASCs) are present in inflammatory infiltrates in skin biopsies of persons during symptomatic HSV2 reactivation and early healing. Both CD20+ B cells, most of which are antigen-inexperienced by co-expression of IgD, and ASCs, characterized by dense IgG RNA expression in combination with CD138, IRF4 and Blimp1 RNA, are seen in association with T cells. ASCs are found clustered with CD4+ T cells, suggesting potential for crosstalk. HSV2-specific antibodies to virus surface antigens are also present in tissue and increase in concentration during HSV2 reactivation and healing, unlike in serum where concentrations remain static over time. B cells, ASCs, and HSV-specific antibody were rarely detected in biopsies of unaffected skin. Evaluation of serial biopsies demonstrate that B cells and ASCs follow a more migratory than resident pattern of infiltration in HSV-affected genital skin, in contrast to T cells. Together, these observations suggest distinct phenotypes of B cells in HSV-affected tissue; dissecting their role in reactivation may reveal new therapeutic avenues to control these infections.
Emily S. Ford, Anton M. Sholukh, RuthMabel Boytz, Savanna S. Carmack, Alexis Klock, Khamsone Phasouk, Danica Shao, Raabya Rossenkhan, Paul T. Edlefsen, Tao Peng, Christine Johnston, Anna Wald, Jia Zhu, Lawrence Corey