Immunological studies of bornavirus encephalitis
Bornaviruses are not cytolytic, and the severe tissue destruction seen during encephalitis by either virus is immunopathgenetically induced.
For BoDV-1, a marked and increasing immune activation during encephalitis is shown in serum and CSF. A pro-inflammatory state as part of the immuno-mediated pathology, shown by elevated respective cytokines, chemokines and other biomarkers, dominates during the course of human BoDV-1 encephalitis. IFNγ production was demonstrated in endothelial cells, astrocytes and microglia, IL-6 in activated microglia, and TGF-β1 in endothelial cells, activated astrocytes and microglia. Pathologically low growth factor levels were seen. This dysbalanced, pro-inflammatory state likely contributes importantly to the fatal outcome of human BoDV-1 encephalitis, and might be a key target for possible treatment attempts in addition to antivirals.
For VSBV-1, and similar to BoDV-1 analyses performed by others, inflammatory infiltrates in areas positive for viral RNA and antigen consist of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, with perivascular B-cell accumulation. Strong microglial response and bizarre astroglial expansion were present. Hallmarks of apoptosis were seen, such as cleavage of caspase 3 in cells adjacent to CD8+ cells and widespread p53 expression.
For a list of the group's publications about bornavirus immunopathology, click here.