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      Infectious Agents and Neurodegeneration

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          A growing body of epidemiologic and experimental data point to chronic bacterial and viral infections as possible risk factors for neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Infections of the central nervous system, especially those characterized by a chronic progressive course, may produce multiple damage in infected and neighbouring cells. The activation of inflammatory processes and host immune responses cause chronic damage resulting in alterations of neuronal function and viability, but different pathogens can also directly trigger neurotoxic pathways. Indeed, viral and microbial agents have been reported to produce molecular hallmarks of neurodegeneration, such as the production and deposit of misfolded protein aggregates, oxidative stress, deficient autophagic processes, synaptopathies and neuronal death. These effects may act in synergy with other recognized risk factors, such as aging, concomitant metabolic diseases and the host’s specific genetic signature. This review will focus on the contribution given to neurodegeneration by herpes simplex type-1, human immunodeficiency and influenza viruses, and by Chlamydia pneumoniae.

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                Author and article information

                Mol Neurobiol
                Mol. Neurobiol
                Molecular Neurobiology
                Humana Press Inc (New York )
                17 August 2012
                17 August 2012
                December 2012
                : 46
                : 3
                : 614-638
                [1 ]Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy
                [2 ]Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
                [3 ]San Raffaele Pisana Scientific Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Health Care, Rome, Italy
                [4 ]Institute of Human Physiology, Università Cattolica, Rome, Italy
                [5 ]Department of Experimental Medicine and Biochemical Sciences, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy
                [6 ]Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Institute Pasteur Cenci Bolognetti Foundation, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
                © The Author(s) 2012
                Custom metadata
                © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012


                neurodegeneration, alzheimer’s disease, c. pneumoniae, influenza virus, hiv, hsv-1


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