The Possible Link Between Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Infection and Neurodegeneration

  • Carola Otth*
  • Angara Zambrano
  • Margarita Concha


Herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2) are ubiquitous, neurotropic, and the most common pathogenic cause of sporadic acute encephalitis in humans. Herpes simplex encephalitis is associated with a high mortality rate and significant neurological sequelae, which afflict patients for life. HSV-1 has been suggested as an environmental risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. However, the link between HSV-1 infection and neurodegenerative processes is still unclear. It has been proposed that the innate immune response to the virus particularly the activation of Toll-like receptor pathways in astrocytes and microglia could lead to neurodegeneration. Finally, we have also shown that in vitro HSV-1 neuronal infection triggers a change in the hyperphosphorylation state of tau and also results in marked neuritic damage and neuronal death.


Microglial Cell Herpes Simplex Encephalitis Neurodegenerative Damage Significant Neurological Sequela Mouse Neuronal Culture 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank Ilona Concha, Ph.D. for her comments. The study referred was financially supported by Grant 14060/05 from Fundación Andes, S-2007-62 from DID-UACH and MECESUP AUS0107.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carola Otth*
    • 1
  • Angara Zambrano
    • 1
  • Margarita Concha
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Microbiología ClínicaFacultad de MedicinaValdiviaChile

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