In animal studies, researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Yale University have identified molecular interactions that govern the immune system’s ability to defend the brain against West Nile virus, offering the possibility that drug therapies could be developed to improve success in treating West Nile and other viral forms of encephalitis, a brain inflammation illness that strikes healthy adults and the elderly and immunocompromised.
In a series of laboratory experiments and studies in mice, the research team found that a specific molecule and “signaling pathway” are critical in detecting West Nile virus and recruiting specialized immune cells that home to and clear infected cells. In mice genetically engineered to lack this molecular pathway, immune cells were detected at a distance but they did not home to brain cells infected by the virus, according to an article published online Feb. 5 in the Cell Press journal Immunity.
The key molecule in this process is Toll-like receptor 7, part of the innate immune system that recognizes pathogens entering the body and activates immune cell responses. Effective signaling is dependent on interleukin 23, a protein that stimulates an inflammatory response against infection. In West Nile encephalitis, according to these studies, Toll-like receptor 7 enables macrophages – immune system cells circulating in the blood – to sense the brain-penetrating virus. These macrophages then respond to interleukin 23 produced in the brain. This brain signal in turn promotes their infiltration and homing from the blood into the brain, where they neutralize and clear the virus.
Transmitted to humans by mosquitoes, West Nile virus is the most common cause of epidemic viral encephalitis in North America and has become a worldwide public health concern. While most healthy people who contract the virus have few if any symptoms, an infection can result in life-threatening brain disease – particularly in the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
“There is no approved therapy for West Nile encephalitis in humans, in part because the mechanisms of the immune response to the virus are not completely understood. Our results suggest that drug therapy aimed at promoting this signaling pathway may enhance the immune response and thereby promote clearance of this potentially deadly virus,” said Terrence Town, Ph.D., one of the article’s lead authors and a research scientist at Cedars-Sinai’s Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute. Town is an associate professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He holds the Ben Winters Endowed Chair in Regenerative Medicine at Cedars-Sinai.
Contributors to this study are supported by the National Institutes of Health and other grants. Town’s research program is funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association.
Citation: Immunity, “Tlr7 mitigates lethal West Nile encephalitis via interleukin 23-dependent immune cell infiltration and homing,” Feb. 5, 2009.
Sandy Van | prpacific.com
Further reports about: > Cancer treatment > Cedars-Sinai > Molecular Target > Nile Delta > Toll-Like Rezeptoren > West Nile Encephalitis > West Nile virus > brain cell > brain inflammation > encephalitis > epidemic viral encephalitis > immune cell > immune response > immune system > immunity > mosquitoes > signaling pathway
The big clean up after stress
25.05.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Complementing conventional antibiotics
24.05.2018 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering
24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy