Productive herpes simplex virus in brain of elderly normal subjects and Alzheimer's disease patients
ABSTRACT It was previously shown that herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1) DNA resides latently in a high proportion of aged brains and that in carriers of the type 4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE-epsilon4), it confers a strong risk of Alzheimer's disease. It was suggested that initial entry of brain by HSV1 and any subsequent reactivation(s) would cause a type of limited encephalitis, the resulting damage being more harmful in APOE-epsilon4 carriers. Reactivation(s) would induce synthesis of intrathecal antibodies; these are long-lived after herpes simplex encephalitis so they were sought in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of Alzheimer's disease patients and age-matched normal subjects. Intrathecal antibodies to human herpesvirus 6 (HHV6) were also sought as DNA of this virus has been detected previously in a high proportion of Alzheimer's disease brains. Antibody indices for HSV and HHV6 were measured using indirect ELISA for IgG antibody, and single radial immunodiffusion was used for albumin, in serum and CSF. A raised antibody index (>1.5) indicative of virus-specific intrathecal HSV1 IgG synthesis was found in 14/27 (52%) Alzheimer's disease patients and 9/13 (69%) age-matched normals (difference non-significant). A raised antibody index to HHV6 was detected in 22% of the Alzheimer's disease patients and in no normals, so presumably this virus either did not reactivate in brain or it elicited only short-lived intrathecal antibodies. The HSV1 results confirm the original PCR findings that show the presence of HSV1 DNA sequences in many elderly brains, and indicate also that the whole functional HSV1 genome is present, and that the virus has replicated.
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ABSTRACT: Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1), when present in brain of carriers of the type 4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE), has been implicated as a major factor in Alzheimer's disease (AD). It is proposed that virus is normally latent in many elderly brains but reactivates periodically (as in the peripheral nervous system) under certain conditions, for example stress, immunosuppression, and peripheral infection, causing cumulative damage and eventually development of AD. Diverse approaches have provided data that explicitly support, directly or indirectly, these concepts. Several have confirmed HSV1 DNA presence in human brains, and the HSV1-APOE-ε4 association in AD. Further, studies on HSV1-infected APOE-transgenic mice have shown that APOE-e4 animals display a greater potential for viral damage. Reactivated HSV1 can cause direct and inflammatory damage, probably involving increased formation of beta amyloid (Aβ) and of AD-like tau (P-tau)-changes found to occur in HSV1-infected cell cultures. Implicating HSV1 further in AD is the discovery that HSV1 DNA is specifically localized in amyloid plaques in AD. Other relevant, harmful effects of infection include the following: dynamic interactions between HSV1 and amyloid precursor protein (APP), which would affect both viral and APP transport; induction of toll-like receptors (TLRs) in HSV1-infected astrocyte cultures, which has been linked to the likely effects of reactivation of the virus in brain. Several epidemiological studies have shown, using serological data, an association between systemic infections and cognitive decline, with HSV1 particularly implicated. Genetic studies too have linked various pathways in AD with those occurring on HSV1 infection. In relation to the potential usage of antivirals to treat AD patients, acyclovir (ACV) is effective in reducing HSV1-induced AD-like changes in cell cultures, and valacyclovir, the bioactive form of ACV, might be most effective if combined with an antiviral that acts by a different mechanism, such as intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG).Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 08/2014; 6:202. DOI:10.3389/fnagi.2014.00202 · 2.84 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a multifactorial disease with a still barely understood etiology. Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) has long been suspected to play a role in the pathogenesis of AD because of its neurotropism, high rate of infection in the general population, and life-long persistence in neuronal cells, particularly in the same brain regions that are usually altered in AD. The goal of this study was to evaluate HSV-1-specific humoral immune responses in patients with a diagnosis of either AD or amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), and to verify the possible relation between HSV-1-specific antibody (Ab) titers and cortical damage; results were compared to those obtained in a group of healthy controls (HC). HSV-1 serum IgG titers were measured in 225 subjects (83 AD, 68 aMCI, and 74 HC). HSV-specific Ab avidity and cortical gray matter volumes analyzed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were evaluated as well in a subgroup of these individuals (44 AD, 23 aMCI, and 26 HC). Results showed that, whereas HSV-1 seroprevalence and IgG avidity were comparable in the three groups, increased Ab titers (p < 0.001) were detected in AD and aMCI compared to HC. Positive significant correlations were detected in AD patients alone between HSV-1 IgG titers and cortical volumes in orbitofrontal (region of interest, ROI1 RSp0.56; p = 0.0001) and bilateral temporal cortices (ROI2 RSp0.57; p < 0.0001; ROI3 RSp0.48; p = 0.001); no correlations could be detected between IgG avidity and MRI parameters. Results herein suggest that a strong HSV-1-specific humoral response could be protective toward AD-associated cortical damage.Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 01/2014; 6:285. DOI:10.3389/fnagi.2014.00285 · 2.84 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In Alzheimer's disease, the contribution of inflammation is still controversially discussed. The aim of this study was to identify a particular immune profile in the peripheral blood (PB) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in patients with mild Alzheimer's disease (mAD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and its potential functional relevance and association with neurodegeneration. A total of 88 patients with cognitive decline (54 mAD, 19 MCI, and 15 other dementias) were included in this study and compared with a group of younger (mean age, 31.3 years) and older (mean age, 68.9 years) healthy volunteers. Patients underwent detailed neurologic and neuropsychological examination, magnetic resonance imaging including voxel-based morphometry of gray matter, voxel-based diffusion tensor imaging, and white matter lesion volumetry, and PB and CSF analysis including multiparameter flow cytometry. Multiparameter flow cytometry revealed that proportions of activated HLA-DR positive CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cells were slightly and significantly increased in the PB of MCI and mAD patients, respectively, when compared with healthy elderly controls but not in patients with other dementias. Although only a slight enhancement of the proportion of activated CD4(+) T-cells was observed in the CSF of both MCI and mAD patients, the proportion of activated CD8(+) T-cells was significantly increased in the CSF of mAD patients when compared with healthy elderly individuals. A slight increase in the proportion of activated CD8(+) T-cells was also observed in the intrathecal compartment of MCI patients. Activation of cytotoxic CD8(+) T-cells was considerably related to AD-typical neuropsychological deficits. Voxel-based regression analysis revealed a significant correlation between CD8(+) T-cell activation and microstructural tissue damage within parahippocampal areas as assessed by diffusion tensor imaging. Taken together, peripheral and intrathecal CD8(+) T-cell activation in mAD was significantly different from other dementias, suggesting a specific adaptive immune response. Lymphocyte activation seems to have a clinical impact because levels of activated CD8(+) T-cells were correlated with clinical and structural markers of AD pathology.Neurobiology of Aging 08/2014; 36(1). DOI:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.08.008 · 4.85 Impact Factor