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J Neurovirol. 2010 Feb;16(1):56-71. doi: 10.3109/13550280903586394.

Gene expression in the brain during reovirus encephalitis.

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Department of Neurology, University of Colorado-Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA.


Viral encephalitis remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world. We performed microarray analysis to identify genes and pathways that are differentially regulated during reovirus encephalitis and that may provide novel therapeutic targets for virus-induced diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). An increase in the expression of 130 cellular genes was found in the brains of reovirus-infected mice at early times post infection, compared to mock-infected controls. The up-regulation of these genes was consistent with activation of innate immune responses, particularly interferon signaling. At later times post infection, when significant CNS injury is present and mice exhibit signs of severe neurologic disease, many more (1374) genes were up-regulated, indicating that increased gene expression correlates with disease pathology. Virus-induced gene expression at late times post infection was again consistent with the activation of innate immune responses. However, additional significant pathways included those associated with cytokine signaling and apoptosis, both of which can contribute to CNS injury. This is the first report comparing virus-induced cellular gene and pathway regulation at early and late times following virus infection of the brain. The shift of virus-induced gene expression from innate immune responses at early times post infection to cytokine signaling and apoptosis at later times suggests a potential therapeutic strategy that preserves early protective responses whilst inhibiting later responses that contribute to pathogenesis.

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