Reaction of Glial Cells in Infectious Disorders of the Central Nervous System

Martina Deckert and Dirk Schlüter

in Neuroglia

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print October 2004 | ISBN: 9780195152227
Published online September 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199865024 | DOI:
                      Reaction of Glial Cells in Infectious Disorders of the Central Nervous System

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This chapter shows the disease-specific, individual, and finely tuned reaction pattern of astrocytes and microglia during central nervous system (CNS) infections and their contribution to the intracerebral immune response. While both soluble mediators and the induction and/or upregulation of immunologically relevant cell surface molecules contribute to elimination of offending pathogens, microglia also serve an immunoregulatory function in order to minimize damage and destruction of vulnerable brain tissue. However, while these various components of the immune reaction serve a protective function, it is also evident that, depending on the underlying pathology, reactions of microglia and astrocytes may also be detrimental, as antibacterial effector molecules may also be neurotoxic and thereby contribute to neuronal damage, apoptosis, and, ultimately, long-term neurological sequelae.

Keywords: microglia; astrocytes; CNS; infection

Chapter.  5429 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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