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.

"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 April 20, 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 April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
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