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Recent Publication

Oligodendrocytes that survive acute coronavirus infection induce prolonged inflammatory responses in the CNS


Neurotropic strains of mouse hepatitis virus (MHV), a coronavirus, cause acute and chronic demyelinating encephalomyelitis with similarities to the human disease multiple sclerosis. Here, using a lineage-tracking system, we show that some cells, primarily oligodendrocytes (OLs) and oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs), survive the acute MHV infection, are associated with regions of demyelination, and persist in the central nervous system (CNS) for at least 150 d. These surviving OLs express major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and other genes associated with an inflammatory response. Notably, the extent of inflammatory cell infiltration was variable, dependent on anatomic location within the CNS, and without obvious correlation with numbers of surviving cells. We detected more demyelination in regions with larger numbers of T cells and microglia/macrophages compared to those with fewer infiltrating cells. Conversely, in regions with less inflammation, these previously infected OLs more rapidly extended processes, consistent with normal myelinating function. Together, these results show that OLs are inducers as well as targets of the host immune response and demonstrate how a CNS infection, even after resolution, can induce prolonged inflammatory changes with CNS region-dependent impairment in remyelination.

  • Ruangang Pan, Qinran Zhang, Scott M Anthony, Yu Zhou, Xiufen Zou, Martin Cassell, Stanley Perlman