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About this Research Topic

Abstract Submission Deadline 31 May 2023
Manuscript Submission Deadline 31 October 2023

Viruses pose one of the major pathogenic threats to human health worldwide. Importantly, many viruses can enter and affect the central nervous system (CNS) causing immune activation, encephalitis, and in some cases long-term cognitive impairment. These include human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), hepatitis C (HCV), JC virus, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and more recently SARS-CoV-2 which have all been linked to irreparable neurodegeneration and cognitive impairment.

Viruses can affect the CNS via both direct and indirect mechanisms. Many viruses directly infect cells of the CNS including microglia, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and neurons which can alter cell homeostasis and function, damage the blood-brain barrier, drive recruitment of leukocytes into the brain, and in some cases form viral reservoirs that persist for life. Additionally, systemic inflammation induced following viral infection of non-CNS cells and tissues may exacerbate or even independently drive immune dysfunction in the brain. However, the discrete effects and mechanisms by which many pathogens can affect the brain are unclear.

This Research Topic will collate current evidence demonstrating the effects of viruses on CNS homeostasis and cell function which can contribute to pathological sequelae. We aim to highlight potential similarities (and differences) in the mechanisms and effects of different viruses on the CNS, particularly the long-term effects imparted on resident brain cells including microglia, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and neurons. Understanding the impact of pathogens on the brain will inform strategies to target and eradicate viruses from the CNS and ultimately improve brain health for the millions of people affected by viruses each year.

We welcome the submission of Original Research, Case Reports, Clinical Trials, Reviews, Mini-Reviews, Editorials, and Perspective articles focus on the effects of viruses on the immune environment in the brain and the related effects contributing to cognitive impairment. These include:
• Studies assessing the effects of viruses including (but not limited to) Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV), SARS-CoV-2, Epstein Barr Virus, Zika virus on the central nervous system
• Basic mechanistic studies (in vitro/in vivo/ex vivo) understanding the effects of viral infection/exposure/immune activation on CNS cell homeostasis and/or function
• Studies assessing viral persistence in the CNS including mechanisms and consequences
• Clinical Trials/case reports of the effects of viral infection on immune activation in the brain.

Keywords: Central Nervous System, viral infection, immune activation, brain homeostasis, cognitive impairment


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Viruses pose one of the major pathogenic threats to human health worldwide. Importantly, many viruses can enter and affect the central nervous system (CNS) causing immune activation, encephalitis, and in some cases long-term cognitive impairment. These include human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), hepatitis C (HCV), JC virus, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and more recently SARS-CoV-2 which have all been linked to irreparable neurodegeneration and cognitive impairment.

Viruses can affect the CNS via both direct and indirect mechanisms. Many viruses directly infect cells of the CNS including microglia, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and neurons which can alter cell homeostasis and function, damage the blood-brain barrier, drive recruitment of leukocytes into the brain, and in some cases form viral reservoirs that persist for life. Additionally, systemic inflammation induced following viral infection of non-CNS cells and tissues may exacerbate or even independently drive immune dysfunction in the brain. However, the discrete effects and mechanisms by which many pathogens can affect the brain are unclear.

This Research Topic will collate current evidence demonstrating the effects of viruses on CNS homeostasis and cell function which can contribute to pathological sequelae. We aim to highlight potential similarities (and differences) in the mechanisms and effects of different viruses on the CNS, particularly the long-term effects imparted on resident brain cells including microglia, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and neurons. Understanding the impact of pathogens on the brain will inform strategies to target and eradicate viruses from the CNS and ultimately improve brain health for the millions of people affected by viruses each year.

We welcome the submission of Original Research, Case Reports, Clinical Trials, Reviews, Mini-Reviews, Editorials, and Perspective articles focus on the effects of viruses on the immune environment in the brain and the related effects contributing to cognitive impairment. These include:
• Studies assessing the effects of viruses including (but not limited to) Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV), SARS-CoV-2, Epstein Barr Virus, Zika virus on the central nervous system
• Basic mechanistic studies (in vitro/in vivo/ex vivo) understanding the effects of viral infection/exposure/immune activation on CNS cell homeostasis and/or function
• Studies assessing viral persistence in the CNS including mechanisms and consequences
• Clinical Trials/case reports of the effects of viral infection on immune activation in the brain.

Keywords: Central Nervous System, viral infection, immune activation, brain homeostasis, cognitive impairment


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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