Brain heterogeneity leads to differential innate immune responses and modulates pathogenesis of viral infections

Loreen Zegenhagen, Chaitanya Kurhade, Nikolaus Koniszewski, Anna K. Överby, Andrea Kröger

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The central nervous system (CNS) is a highly complex organ with highly specialized cell subtypes. Viral infections often target specific structures of the brain and replicate in certain regions. Studies in mice deficient in type I Interferon (IFN) receptor or IFN-β have highlighted the importance of the type I IFN system against viral infections and non-viral autoimmune disorders in the CNS. Direct antiviral effects of type I IFNs appear to be crucial in limiting early spread of a number of viruses in CNS tissues. Increased efforts have been made to characterize IFN expression and responses in the brain. In this context, it is important to identify cells that produce IFN, decipher pathways leading to type I IFN expression and to characterize responding cells. In this review we give an overview about region specific aspects that influence local innate immune responses. The route of entry is critical, but also the susceptibility of different cell types, heterogeneity in subpopulations and micro-environmental cues play an important role in antiviral responses. Recent work has outlined the tremendous importance of type I IFNs, particularly in the limitation of viral spread within the CNS. This review will address recent advances in understanding the mechanisms of local type I IFN production and response, in the particular context of the CNS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-101
Number of pages7
JournalCytokine and Growth Factor Reviews
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain heterogeneity
  • Central nervous system
  • Innate immunity
  • Type I interferon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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