Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Molecular Target For Treatment Of West Nile Encephalitis Identified Through Studies In Mice

Date:
February 6, 2009
Source:
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Summary:
In animal studies, researchers 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. Critical mechanism enables blood-borne immune cells to sense West Nile virus and to neutralize and clear the infection in the brain.

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tlr7 mitigates lethal West Nile encephalitis via interleukin 23-dependent immune cell infiltration and homing. Immunity, Feb. 5, 2009

Cite This Page:

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. "Molecular Target For Treatment Of West Nile Encephalitis Identified Through Studies In Mice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090205133738.htm>.
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. (2009, February 6). Molecular Target For Treatment Of West Nile Encephalitis Identified Through Studies In Mice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090205133738.htm
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. "Molecular Target For Treatment Of West Nile Encephalitis Identified Through Studies In Mice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090205133738.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins