Astrocytic alteration induced by Japanese encephalitis virus infection

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The neurotropism of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) has not been well characterized. Astrocytes are parts of the blood-brain barrier, a major source of chemokines, and critical effectors of central inflammation. Thus, astrocytes might play some role as JEV travels from the peripheral to the CNS and/or the resultant encephalitis. Using rat cortical cultures, we found that JEV can cause cellular and/or functional changes in astrocytes as indicated by increased expression of interleukin-6 (IL-6), regulated by activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES). and monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1), increased lactate release and glucose uptake, and attenuation of glutamate toxicity. These modulations occur needed by the cells for compensation and may affect neuron and/or astrocyte function.

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