A human recombinant monoclonal antibody to herpes simplex virus (HSV) glycoprotein D labeled with the fluorescent dye Cy5 was administered to mice infected in the cornea with HSV type 1 (HSV-1). The distribution of such antibody in the corneas and trigeminal ganglia of the mice was then investigated by confocal microscopy. The antibody was detected on HSV-infected nerve fibers in the cornea--identified by colocalization with HSV antigens and the neuritic markers neurofilament, GAP-43, synapsin-1, and CNPase--and on the perikarya of sensory neurons in the HSV-1-infected neurons in ipsilateral trigeminal ganglia. Antibodies have been shown to be effective against many neurotropic viruses, often in the absence of obvious cell damage. Observations from experimental HSV infections suggest that antibodies could act in part by interfering with virus expression in the ganglia and/or with axonal spread. The present results provide morphological evidence of the localization of antiviral antibodies at anatomical sites relevant to such putative antibody-mediated protective actions and suggest that viral glycoproteins are accessible to antibodies on infected nerve fibers and sensory neurons.