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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2016 Dec;17(12):766-776. doi: 10.1038/nrn.2016.140. Epub 2016 Nov 4.

Keeping it in check: chronic viral infection and antiviral immunity in the brain.

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Program in Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.
Program in Blood Cell Development and Function, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19111, USA.
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, USA.


It is becoming clear that the manner by which the immune response resolves or contains infection by a pathogen varies according to the tissue that is affected. Unlike many peripheral cell types, CNS neurons are generally non-renewable. Thus, the cytolytic and inflammatory strategies that are effective in controlling infections in the periphery could be damaging if deployed in the CNS. Perhaps for this reason, the immune response to some CNS viral infections favours maintenance of neuronal integrity and non-neurolytic viral control. This modified immune response - when combined with the unique anatomy and physiology of the CNS - provides an ideal environment for the maintenance of viral genomes, including those of RNA viruses. Therefore, it is possible that such viruses can reactivate long after initial viral exposure, contributing to CNS disease.

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