Innate Immune Responses Contribute to Host Defense, Disease, and Repair in Response to Viral Infection of the CNS


Viral infection of the central nervous system (CNS) results in a number of different clinical outcomes ranging from benign infection to life-threatening conditions as well as insidious disease characterized by viral persistence with potential for life-long neurological complications. Importantly, the past 20 years has recognized the emergence of neurotropic viruses that have caused a myriad of clinical problems and raised public awareness of the importance of studying viruses that infect the CNS. We employ infection of susceptible mice with the neurotropic JHM strain of mouse hepatitis virus (JHMV) to better understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms influencing host defense, demyelination, and remyelination. While the adaptive immune response is critical in effectively controlling viral replication as well as contributing to neurodegeneration, the contributions of the innate immune response to these processes is less well understood. We have recently determined that both neutrophils and microglia are important contributors in optimizing host defense following JHMV infection. In addition, we’ve shown that sustained infiltration of neutrophils into the CNS augments demyelination whereas microglia ablation limits the severity of white matter damage and restricts remyelination. We are currently attempting to address the mechanisms by which neutrophils and microglia influence these two separate events.

Originally presented on September 17, 2019, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Lecture Presenter

Thomas E. Lane, PhD

Thomas E. Lane, PhD

Professor, Department of Pathology
University of Utah School of Medicine

Tom Lane has been working in the area of multiple sclerosis research for 25 years. Dr. Lane completed his PhD research in Microbiology and Immunology at the UCLA School of Medicine followed by postdoctoral work in the Department of Neuropharmacology at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA. Following his training, Dr. Lane joined the Biological Sciences faculty at UC Irvine in 1998 where he was a Professor of Molecular Biology, Associate Director of the Institute of Immunology and Director of the MS Research Center. Dr. Lane has served 6 years as a member of the research grant review study section for the National MS Society and also served 6 years as a member of Research Program Advisory Board for the National MS Society. In addition, he is an established reviewer for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and serves on editorial boards for numerous research journals. Dr. Lane joined the faculty at the University of Utah School of Medicine in November 2013 and is a Professor in the Department of Pathology and Adjunct Professor in Bioengineering. In 2018, he was awarded the Excellence in Pathology Research University of Utah School of Medicine.


After this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss the innate immune response mobilization in response to viral infection of the CNS and how it can contribute to both disease and repair
  • Describe how targeting cellular components of the innate immune response may offer new therapeutic targets for treatment of chronic neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS)

Sponsored by:

University of Utah School of Medicine, Department of Pathology, and ARUP Laboratories