Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

Toll-like receptors in viral encephalitis

Viral encephalitis is a rare but serious syndrome. In addition to DNA-encoded herpes viruses, such as herpes simplex virus and varicella zoster virus, RNA-encoded viruses from the families of Flaviviridae, Rhabdoviridae and Paramyxoviridae are important neurotropic viruses. Whereas in the periphery, the role of Toll-like receptors (TLR) during immune stimulation is well understood, TLR functions within the CNS are less clear. On one hand, TLRs can affect the physiology of neurons during neuronal progenitor cell differentiation and neurite outgrowth, whereas under conditions of infection, the complex interplay between TLR stimulated neurons, astrocytes and microglia is just on the verge of being understood. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge about which TLRs are expressed by cell subsets of the CNS. Furthermore, we specifically highlight functional implications of TLR stimulation in neurons, astrocytes and microglia. After briefly illuminating some examples of viral evasion strategies from TLR signaling, we report on the current knowledge of primary immunodeficiencies in TLR signaling and their consequences for viral encephalitis. Finally, we provide an outlook with examples of TLR agonist mediated intervention strategies and potentiation of vaccine responses against neurotropic virus infections.


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