What is the role of cellular immune response in the pathogenesis of herpes zoster (shingles)?

Updated: Jan 25, 2019
  • Author: Camila K Janniger, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

The incidence of zoster appears to be inversely correlated with the host’s capacity to mount a cellular immune response. However, many patients with zoster apparently have normal immunity. In these patients, zoster is postulated to occur when VZV antibody titers and cellular immunity drop to levels that no longer are completely effective in preventing viral invasion. Evidence for this hypothesis includes the observation that pediatricians, who presumably are routinely reexposed to VZV and thus maintain high levels of immunity, seldom develop zoster.


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