Herpes simplex virus type-1 infection impairs adult hippocampal neurogenesis via amyloid-β protein accumulation.

Domenica Donatella Li Puma, Roberto Piacentini, Lucia Leone, Katia Gironi, Maria Elena Marcocci, Giovanna De Chiara, Anna Teresa Palamara, Claudio Grassi

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review

15 Citazioni (Scopus)


We previously reported that Herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1) infection of cultured neurons triggered intracellular accumulation of amyloid-β protein (Aβ) markedly impinging on neuronal functions. Here, we demonstrated that HSV-1 affects in vitro and in vivo adult hippocampal neurogenesis by reducing neural stem/progenitor cell (NSC) proliferation and their neuronal differentiation via intracellular Aβ accumulation. Specifically, cultured NSCs were more permissive for HSV-1 replication than mature neurons and, once infected, they exhibited reduced proliferation (assessed by 5′-bromo-deoxyuridine incorporation, Ki67 immunoreactivity, and Sox2 mRNA expression) and impaired neuronal differentiation in favor of glial phenotype (evaluated by immunoreactivity for the neuronal marker MAP2, the glial marker glial fibrillary astrocyte protein, and the expression of the proneuronal genes Mash1 and NeuroD1). Similarly, impaired adult neurogenesis was observed in the subgranular zone of hippocampal dentate gyrus of an in vivo model of recurrent HSV-1 infections, that we recently set up and characterized, with respect to mock-infected mice. The effects of HSV-1 on neurogenesis did not depend on cell death and were due to Aβ accumulation in infected NSCs. Indeed, they were: (a) reverted, in vitro, by the presence of either β/γ-secretase inhibitors preventing Aβ production or the specific 4G8 antibody counteracting the action of intracellular Aβ; (b) not detectable, in vivo, in HSV-1-infected amyloid precursor protein knockout mice, unable to produce and accumulate Aβ. Given the critical role played by adult neurogenesis in hippocampal-dependent memory and learning, our results suggest that multiple virus reactivations in the brain may contribute to Alzheimer's disease phenotype by also targeting NSCs.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1467-1480
Numero di pagine14
RivistaStem Cells
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2019


  • Amyloid β
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Neural differentiation
  • Neural stem cells
  • Neurogenesis
  • Personalized medicine


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