Abstract: The central nervous system (CNS) harbors highly differentiated cells, such as neurons that are essential to coordinate the functions of complex organisms. This organ is partly protected by the blood-brain barrier (BBB) from toxic substances and pathogens carried in the bloodstream. Yet, neurotropic viruses can reach the CNS either by crossing the BBB after viremia, or by exploiting motile infected cells as Trojan horses, or by using axonal transport. Type I and type III interferons (IFNs) are cytokines that are critical to control early steps of viral infections. Deficiencies in the IFN pathway have been associated with fatal viral encephalitis both in humans and mice. Therefore, the IFN system provides an essential protection of the CNS against viral infections. Yet, basal activity of the IFN system appears to be low within the CNS, likely owing to the toxicity of IFN to this organ. Moreover, after viral infection, neurons and oligodendrocytes were reported to be relatively poor IFN producers and appear to keep some susceptibility to neurotropic viruses, even in the presence of IFN. This review addresses some trends and recent developments concerning the role of type I and type III IFNs in: i) preventing neuroinvasion and infection of CNS cells; ii) the identity of IFN-producing cells in the CNS; iii) the antiviral activity of ISGs; and iv) the activity of viral proteins of neurotropic viruses that target the IFN pathway.
Keywords: interferon alpha/beta; interferon lambda; interferon-stimulated gene (ISG); neuron; astrocyte; neurotropic virus; axonal transport
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Sorgeloos, F.; Kreit, M.; Hermant, P.; Lardinois, C.; Michiels, T. Antiviral Type I and Type III Interferon Responses in the Central Nervous System. Viruses 2013, 5, 834-857.
Sorgeloos F, Kreit M, Hermant P, Lardinois C, Michiels T. Antiviral Type I and Type III Interferon Responses in the Central Nervous System. Viruses. 2013; 5(3):834-857.
Sorgeloos, Frédéric; Kreit, Marguerite; Hermant, Pascale; Lardinois, Cécile; Michiels, Thomas. 2013. "Antiviral Type I and Type III Interferon Responses in the Central Nervous System." Viruses 5, no. 3: 834-857.