In Mice, Antiviral Appears to Block Brain Damage From Latent HSV Reactivation

Research By Nancy Sawtell, PhD

Post Date: March 6, 2020 | Publish Date: March 5, 2020

How HSV Damages Neurons

How HSV Damages Neurons

This illustration shows the stepwise apoptotic (a form of cell death) path that a trigeminal sensory neuron undergoes after reactivation of latent HSV.

Decades after infection, the common herpes simplex virus (HSV) can reactivate, causing affected neurons in the brain to die.

Researchers have suggested that this neuron damage may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions.

Now, a study published online March 5, 2020, in the journal PLoS Pathogens reports that the antiviral drug acyclovir prevented HSV reactivation and the death of neurons in mice that were subjected to hyper-thermic stress to mimic fever.

More study is needed to determine if the process is similar in humans.

The study was led by first author Jessica Doll, PhD, and principal investigator Nancy Sawtell, PhD.

Read more about the findings

Publication Information

Original Title:Resolution of herpes simplex virus reactivation in vivo results in neuronal destruction
Published in:PLoS Pathogens
Publish date:March 5, 2020

Read the Study

Research By

  • Nancy Sawtell, PhD

    Nancy Sawtell, PhD

    Division of Infectious Diseases

    Dr. Sawtell's lab focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying herpes simplex virus (HSV) latency and reactivation.

About this blog

The Research Horizons blog features news and insights about the latest discoveries and innovations developed by the scientists of Cincinnati Children's. This blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.