This chapter reviews two of the most widely studied animal models of virus-induced demyelinating disease. These are Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus and murine hepatitis virus. Both viruses produce acute inflammatory encephalitis that is followed by chronic central-nervous-system (CNS) demyelinating disease. The clinical and pathologic correlates of virus-induced demyelination are largely immune mediated. Furthermore, several pathologic mechanisms have been proposed to explain the development of myelin damage and neurologic deficits, and each of the proposed mechanisms may play a role in disease progression depending on the genetic constitution of the infected animal. The induction of demyelinating disease by virus may be directly relevant to human MS. Several viruses are known to cause demyelination in humans and viral infection is an epidemiologic factor that is consistently associated with clinical exacerbation of MS. It is suggested that viral infection may be a cause of MS, although no specific virus has been identified as a causative agent.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)