Direct Evidence for Viral Infection of Neurons
Written by Editor   
Monday, January 18, 2016 12:00 AM

Direct evidence for viral infection of neurons has been demonstrated.

The first direct evidence that viruses can infect neuronal cells has been reported, giving more weight to the idea that viral infections may contribute to certain neurologic diseases.

This research shows that Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Kapok’s sarcoma–associated herpesvirus (KSHV) can infect and replicate in both cultured and primary neurons.

“We have demonstrated for the first time that a subgroup of herpes viruses can infect human neuronal cells and lead to full-blown infection, which causes death of the neuron and the generation of more viral particles, which can go on to infect other neurological cells and B cells,” the authors reported.

"We have now shown that it is possible for gammaherpes viruses to infect human neuronal cells, which makes it more plausible that Epstein-Barr virus — which is a member of this family — or a similar virus may well be a contributor to neurological diseases."

This research was at a very early stage, and it is by no means proven that viruses do cause these disease. “But our discovery has drawn a direct line between these viruses and neurological diseases,” the authors state.