About this Research Topic
The aim of this Research Topic is to bring together fundamental and clinical views reporting on neuroinfections, with a focus on viral and cellular mechanisms, prevention/diagnostic and epidemiological studies.
The central nervous system (CNS) is often referred to as an immune-privileged organ due to its isolation from the blood stream by the blood brain barrier (BBB). Nevertheless, some pathogens possess unique properties that allow them to reach the brain and cause diverse pathologies. Because the BBB may favor escape from immune surveillance, viral persistence in the CNS can be relatively efficient. In many cases, disease progression following pathogenic effect can be debilitating when pathogenic agents lead to nerve impairment, inhibit neurotransmitter release or trigger neuronal death. Pathogens can also strongly impair neurodevelopement and lead to severe neuronal deficits in infants. Moreover, there is now accumulating evidence that environmental factors are key features in the etiology of several neuropathologies. In particular, neuroinflammation is now believed to play a key role in the onset and progression of brain diseases. Among the potential causative agents, neurotropic viruses such as herpes simplex virus (HSV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or endogenous retroviruses are in the spotlight. Some studies now propose potential links between HSV and/or cytomegalovirus (CMV) and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. It is therefore of crucial importance to characterize the molecular and cellular mechanism of neuroinfection, not only to prevent/cure infectious diseases of the nervous system, but also to better understand the etiology of neurodegenerative disorders.
This Research Topic covers viral, bacterial and parasite infections, as well as prion-based disorders of the CNS. We aim to cover the latest research on chronic and acute CNS infections, with potential focus on emerging infectious diseases affecting neuronal development and homeostasis.
Keywords: Neurotropic pathogens, neuroinflammation, blood-brain barrier, axonal transport, neurodegeneration