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BMC Proceedings

Open Access

Immune responses to RNA virus infections of the CNS

BMC Proceedings20082(Suppl 1):S20

Published: 23 September 2008


Immune ResponseNervous SystemCentral Nervous SystemInflammatory ResponseVirus Infection

RNA viruses that infect the nervous system most often target neurons and are important causes of viral encephalitis. A successful outcome for the host from virus infection of the central nervous system requires the elimination of the virus without damage to these essential non-renewable cells. As a result, inflammatory responses must be tightly controlled and many unique mechanisms contribute to this control. Innate responses are rapidly activated; they control initial virus replication and spread and set the stage for the adaptive immune responses that lead to infiltration of the CNS with B cells, CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells. The outcome of this immune response may be control of virus replication and recovery, but viral RNA often persists. Alternatively, the outcome may be immune-mediated damage and fatal encephalomyelitis.

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA


© Griffin; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2008

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.