Nav: Home

Surprise finding in neurons

August 09, 2018

Purkinje cells are a central part of the human cerebellum, the part of the brain that plays an important role in motor learning, fine motor control of the muscle, equilibrium and posture but also influences emotions, perception, memory and language.

Scientists from the Institute for Virology and Immunobiology of the University of Würzburg and their US colleagues have now made a surprising discovery in these nerve cells. They found a high infection rate of Purkinje neurons with the human herpesvirus HHV-6 for the first time in patients with bipolar disorder and/or severe depression. The study was led by Dr. Bhupesh Prusty, group leader at the Department of Microbiology. The scientists have now published the results of their study in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology.

Virus-related inflammation in the brain

"Inherited factors have long been known to increase the risk of developing several types of psychiatric disorders including bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia," Bhupesh Prusty explains. But there is also strong evidence that environmental factors, particularly those that lead to neuroinflammation early in life, might play an important etiologic role in the pathogenesis of these disorders as well. Viruses are such an environmental factor.

"Pathogens may disrupt neurodevelopment and cross talk with the immune system at key developmental stages," Prusty explains. Children that are infected at a young age usually recover without any late complications. However, the viruses lie dormant (latent) in various organs and tissues including the central nervous system and the salivary glands and can be reactivated under certain circumstances, even after years.

Increased infection rate in two psychiatric disorders

Prusty and his team suspected the human herpesviruses HHV-6A and HHV-6B to play a key role in the genesis of psychiatric disorders. So they studied two of the largest human brain biopsy cohorts from Stanley Medical Research Institute (USA) and what they found confirmed their assumption: "We were able to find active infection of HHV-6 predominantly within Purkinje cells of human cerebellum in bipolar and major depressive disorder patients," Prusty sums up the central result of their study. The results show for the first time that type HHV-6 viruses are capable of infecting neurons and possibly causing cognitive disturbances leading to mood disorder.

According to the scientists, the study disproves the belief that viruses which lie "dormant" and hidden in organs and tissues never cause any disease. "Studies like ours prove this thinking as wrong," Prusty says and he cites another study which shows that Alzheimer's disease can also be caused by human herpesvirus 6A.

In the next step, the Würzburg researchers want to figure out the molecular mechanisms behind HHV-6A mediated cellular damage to Purkinje neurons.
-end-


University of Würzburg

Related Bipolar Disorder Articles:

Underlying molecular mechanism of bipolar disorder revealed
Researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP), with major participation from Yokohama School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and UC San Diego, have identified the molecular mechanism behind lithium's effectiveness in treating bipolar disorder patients.
Researchers develop online support for people with bipolar disorder
An online relapse prevention tool for bipolar disorder offers a 'cheap accessible option' for people seeking support following treatment, say researchers.
Bipolar disorder candidate gene, validated in mouse experiment
Researchers at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea has made a significant breakthrough in the search for the potential root causes of bipolar disorder.
Novel risk genes for bipolar disorder
A research collaboration in Japan, led by Dr. Nakao Iwata, professor at the Fujita Health University, conducted a genome-wide association study of bipolar disorder (BD), and identified novel risk genes.
People with bipolar disorder more than twice as likely to have suffered child adversity
A University of Manchester study which looked at more than thirty years of research into bipolar, found that people with the disorder are 2.63 times more likely to have suffered emotional, physical or sexual abuse as children than the general population.
Brain structural effects of psychopharmacological treatment in bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder is associated with subtle neuroanatomical deficits. This review considers evidence that lithium, mood stabilizers, antipsychotic medication and antidepressant medications are associated with neuroanatomical variation.
Changes in brain connectivity protect against developing bipolar disorder
Naturally occurring changes in brain wiring can help patients at high genetic risk of developing bipolar disorder avert the onset of the illness, according to a new study led by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published online today in the journal Translational Psychiatry.
Possible mechanism for specific symptoms in bipolar disorder discovered
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet, and the Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University in Sweden have identified a gene variant linked to psychotic symptoms and cognitive impairment in people with bipolar disorder.
Certain antidepressants linked to heightened risk of mania and bipolar disorder
Taking certain antidepressants for depression is linked to a heightened risk of subsequent mania and bipolar disorder, reveals research published in the online journal BMJ Open.
Lithium safe, effective for children with bipolar disorder
A multicenter study of young patients with bipolar disorder provides what may be the most scientifically rigorous demonstration to date that lithium -- a drug used successfully for decades to treat adults with the condition -- can also be safe and effective for children suffering from it.

Related Bipolar Disorder Reading:

The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide, Second Edition: What You and Your Family Need to Know
by David J. Miklowitz (Author)

Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book)
by Francis Mark Mondimore MD (Author)

Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner (The New Harbinger Loving Someone Series)
by Julie A. Fast (Author), John D. Preston (Author)

The Bipolar II Disorder Workbook: Managing Recurring Depression, Hypomania, and Anxiety
by Stephanie McMurrich Roberts (Author), Louisa Grandin Sylvia (Author), Noreen A. Reilly-Harrington (Author), David J. Miklowitz (Foreword)

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
by Kay Redfield Jamison (Author)

Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder: A 4-Step Plan for You and Your Loved Ones to Manage the Illness and Create Lasting Stability
by Julie A Fast (Author), John Preston (Author)

Clinician's Guide to Bipolar Disorder
by David J. Miklowitz (Author), Michael J. Gitlin (Author)

Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed (The New Harbinger Guides for the Newly Diagnosed Series)
by Janelle M. Caponigro MA (Author), Erica H. Lee MA (Author), Sheri L Johnson PhD (Author), Ann M. Kring PhD (Author)

Bipolar Disorder For Dummies
by Candida Fink (Author), Joe Kraynak (Author)

Living With Someone Who's Living With Bipolar Disorder: A Practical Guide for Family, Friends, and Coworkers
by Chelsea Lowe (Author), Bruce M. Cohen (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Circular
We're told if the economy is growing, and if we keep producing, that's a good thing. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers explore circular systems that regenerate and re-use what we already have. Guests include economist Kate Raworth, environmental activist Tristram Stuart, landscape architect Kate Orff, entrepreneur David Katz, and graphic designer Jessi Arrington.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#503 Postpartum Blues (Rebroadcast)
When a woman gives birth, it seems like everyone wants to know how the baby is doing. What does it weigh? Is it breathing right? Did it cry? But it turns out that, in the United States, we're not doing to great at asking how the mom, who just pushed something the size of a pot roast out of something the size of a Cheerio, is doing. This week we talk to anthropologist Kate Clancy about her postpartum experience and how it is becoming distressingly common, and we speak with Julie Wiebe about prolapse, what it is and how it's...