Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Long distance signals protect brain from viral infections entering through nose

Date:
February 10, 2014
Source:
American Society for Microbiology
Summary:
The brain contains a defense system that prevents at least two unrelated viruses -- and possibly many more -- from invading the brain at large.

The olfactory mucosa in the nose can serve as a conduit for a number of viruses to enter the brain including rabies, polio and influenza viruses. Yet infections in the central nervous system rarely occur. Research suggests that in response to viral infection, cells in the olfactory bulb release long-distance signaling molecules that tell cells in uninfected parts of the brain to produce anti-viral interferon, a first line of defense against invading viruses.
Credit: rufar / Fotolia

The brain contains a defense system that prevents at least two unrelated viruses -- and possibly many more -- from invading the brain at large. The research is published online ahead of print in the Journal of Virology.

Related Articles


"Our work points to the remarkable ability of the immune system, even within the brain, to protect us against opportunistic viruses," says Anthony van den Pol of Yale University, an author on the study.

The research explains a long-standing mystery. The olfactory mucosa in the nose can serve as a conduit for a number of viruses to enter the brain including rabies, polio and influenza viruses. Yet infections in the central nervous system rarely occur. The mechanism responsible for protecting the brain from viruses that successfully invade the olfactory bulb (OB), the first site of infection in nasal mucosa, remains elusive.

Van den Pol and his colleagues have discovered that, in response to viral infection, cells in the olfactory bulb release long-distance signaling molecules that tell cells in uninfected parts of the brain to produce anti-viral interferon, a first line of defense against invading viruses.

In the study, normal mice expunged the infection, while mice lacking receptors for the initial signaling molecules succumbed as the viruses spread throughout the brain, proving the critical role of these molecules.

These signaling molecules are different than regular neurotransmitters. Van den Pol notes that during neuronal signaling, neurotransmitters released by one cell travel across a mere 20 nanometers of synapse to the next nerve cell. Yet, the long-distance signaling molecules diffuse up to 15 millimeters.

"That distance is almost a million times greater than the distance across a synapse," he says.

"The success of the immune system in blocking two unrelated viruses, vesicular stomatitis virus and cytomegalovirus, suggests that our results may generalize to many other viruses that can enter the brain through the olfactory nerve," says van den Pol.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. N. van den Pol, S. Ding, M. D. Robek. Long distance interferon signaling within the brain blocks virus spread. Journal of Virology, 2014; DOI: 10.1128/JVI.03509-13

Cite This Page:

American Society for Microbiology. "Long distance signals protect brain from viral infections entering through nose." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140210161812.htm>.
American Society for Microbiology. (2014, February 10). Long distance signals protect brain from viral infections entering through nose. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140210161812.htm
American Society for Microbiology. "Long distance signals protect brain from viral infections entering through nose." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140210161812.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) A frog noticed by a conservationist on New York's Staten Island has been confirmed as a new species after extensive study and genetic testing. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Surfer Accidentally Stands on Shark, Gets Bitten

Surfer Accidentally Stands on Shark, Gets Bitten

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A 20-year-old competition surfer said on Thursday he accidentally stepped on a shark's head before it bit him off the Australian east coast. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Inflicts Heavy Toll on Guinean Potato Trade

Ebola Inflicts Heavy Toll on Guinean Potato Trade

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) The Ebola epidemic has seen Senegal and Guinea Bissau close its borders with Guinea and the economic consequences have started to be felt, especially in Fouta Djallon, where the renowned potato industry has been hit hard. Duration: 02:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Genetically Altered Glowing Flower on Display in Tokyo

Genetically Altered Glowing Flower on Display in Tokyo

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 30, 2014) Just in time for Halloween, a glowing flower goes on display in Tokyo. Instead of sorcery and magic, its creators used science to genetically modify the flower, adding a naturally fluorescent plankton protein to its genetic mix. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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