Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) results in the development of Bell’s pals but still, the pathophysiology of the facial nerve paralysis is still not fully studied. The main objective is to establish an animal model of type 1 herpes simplex virus (HSV-1)-induced face paralysis in the mouse and to investigate the pattern of changes in intercellular adhesion molecule -1(ICAM-1) expression in the facial nucleus of the brain stem in mice with facial paralysis as well as the effects of glucocorticoids on intercellular adhesion molecule -1(ICAM-1) expression. A total of 170 4-week-old Balb/c male mice were randomly divided into the virus inoculation group (n = 135), saline control group (n = 26), and blank control group (n = 9). Mice in the virus inoculation group that showed facial paralysis were divided into A, B, and C subgroups. The A group did not receive any treatments, the B group received methylprednisolone sodium succinate (MPSS) intervention, and the C group received MPSS + RU486 treatment. The mouse model of facial paralysis was established by inoculating HSV-1 to the skin at the back of the ears. The facial nerve function of mice was assessed, and real-time PCR and western blot were used to assess ICAM-1 expression in the facial nucleus of the brain stem in mice with facial paralysis after drug intervention. In the virus inoculation group, 95 mice (55.88%) showed varying degrees of facial paralysis symptoms within 2-5 days after inoculation. The ICAM-1 gene and protein expression levels remained at low levels in the facial nucleus of the brain stem of mice in the saline group, which showed no significant difference compared to the normal control group (P > 0.05). However, for mice of the virus inoculation group, ICAM-1 expression increased at 6 h after the occurrence of facial paralysis and peaked after 2 days, differing significantly from the blank control group (P < 0.01). ICAM-1 expression subsequently decreased gradually. In the HSV-1 + MPSS group, ICAM-1 protein expression decreased significantly on the 2 day after facial paralysis. In the HSV-1 + MPSS + RU486 group, MPSS inhibition of ICAM-1 protein expression was reduced. The results suggested that ICAM-1 is involved in the pathological processes by which HSV-1 induces facial paralysis in mice, and the treatment effects of MPSS for Bell's palsy can be achieved by the inhibition of MCP-1.
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