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J Biomed Sci. 2011 Feb 28;18:20. doi: 10.1186/1423-0127-18-20.

Autoimmunity-related demyelination in infection by Japanese encephalitis virus.

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  • 1Graduate Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Chang Gung University, Kwei-San, Tao-Yuan 33332, Taiwan.


Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus is the most common cause of epidemic viral encephalitis in the world. The virus mainly infects neuronal cells and causes an inflammatory response after invasion of the parenchyma of the brain. The death of neurons is frequently observed, in which demyelinated axons are commonly seen. The mechanism that accounts for the occurrence of demyelination is ambiguous thus far. With a mouse model, the present study showed that myelin-specific antibodies appeared in sera, particularly in those mice with evident symptoms. Meanwhile, specific T cells proliferating in response to stimulation by myelin basic protein (MBP) was also shown in these mice. Taken together, our results suggest that autoimmunity may play an important role in the destruction of components, e.g., MBP, of axon-surrounding myelin, resulting in demyelination in the mouse brain after infection with the JE virus.

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