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Borna disease virus infects human neural progenitor cells and impairs neurogenesis

, : Borna disease virus infects human neural progenitor cells and impairs neurogenesis. Journal of Virology 86(5): 2512-2522

Understanding the complex mechanisms by which infectious agents can disrupt behavior represents a major challenge. The Borna disease virus (BDV), a potential human pathogen, provides a unique model to study such mechanisms. Because BDV induces neurodegeneration in brain areas that are still undergoing maturation at the time of infection, we tested the hypothesis that BDV interferes with neurogenesis. We showed that human neural stem/progenitor cells are highly permissive to BDV, although infection does not alter their survival or undifferentiated phenotype. In contrast, upon the induction of differentiation, BDV is capable of severely impairing neurogenesis by interfering with the survival of newly generated neurons. Such impairment was specific to neurogenesis, since astrogliogenesis was unaltered. In conclusion, we demonstrate a new mechanism by which BDV might impair neural function and brain plasticity in infected individuals. These results may contribute to a better understanding of behavioral disorders associated with BDV infection.


PMID: 22190725

DOI: 10.1128/JVI.05663-11

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