Viruses in human central nervous system — invasion, transmission, and latency: a literature review




CNS viruses, virus invasion into CNS, virus transmission into CNS, latency of CNS viruses


Central nervous system (CNS) viruses are the problem of global significance that is not yet fully evaluated. There are known more than 30 groups of RNA viruses and more than 20 groups of DNA viruses known which can affect the human central nervous system. According to WHO data, up to 95 % of the world population is infected with the herpesvirus family of viruses (HHV) – HHV1, HHV2, HHV6, HHV7, HHV8, HCMV, EBV, VZV and papovaviruses (JC).

Invasion of the most CNS viruses begins at the periphery with infection of by infecting epithelial or endothelial cells. The introduction of viruses into the cell is performed invade cells through the interaction with receptors. Currently, there are known several pathways of viruses penetration into the central nervous system: a straight path – the viruses from the site of local infection are directly introduced penetrate into the nerve endings of the peripheral or central nervous system; “Trojan horse” – the transporters of these viruses are leukocytes infected with the virus; mechanism of CNS damage mediated by immune system consisting in the fact that local destruction of the blood-brain barrier is achieved as a result of due to immune cells activation and local production of cytokines.

After penetration into the neuronal cell, viruses are moved through its structures and are transmitted migrate into other neuronal cells. When reaching the cell body, viral nucleic acid is replicated and mRNA and proteins are expressed. After replication the dissemination of viral particles is also carried out involving the microtubule transport system.

Now, an understanding of the molecular mechanisms controlling the spread of viruses in the nervous system is not formed. Viruses interact with host cells through many metabolic pathways. Severe pathology is developed in case of insufficiency of aggregate response to viral invasion.

Author Biographies

Vitaliy I. Tsymbaliuk, Romodanov Neurosurgery Institute, Kyiv

Restorative Neurosurgery Department

Iryna H. Vasileva, Romodanov Neurosurgery Institute, Kyiv

Neurobiochemistry Department


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How to Cite

Tsymbaliuk, V. I., & Vasileva, I. H. (2017). Viruses in human central nervous system — invasion, transmission, and latency: a literature review. Ukrainian Neurosurgical Journal, (3), 5–13.



Review articles