Archives of Virology

, Volume 162, Issue 11, pp 3251–3268 | Cite as

Immunological aspects of rabies: a literature review

  • Iana Suly Santos Katz
  • Fernanda Guedes
  • Elaine Raniero Fernandes
  • Sandriana dos Ramos SilvaEmail author


Rabies is a lethal disease caused by the neurotropic virus rabies virus (RABV), and it remains an important public health problem globally. It is known that the host immune response is important for control of viral infection and promoting viral clearance. In this context, it is well documented that, in addition to RABV neutralizing antibody, interferons and cell-mediated immunity also have an important role in preventing the establishment of disease. On the other hand, RABV suppresses host immunity through different mechanisms, for example, direct inhibition of host gene expression, sequestration of pathogen-associated molecular patterns, or modification of cytokine signalling pathways, which hinder the protective host immune responses to RABV infection. Here, we review the immunological aspects of rabies, highlighting innate and adaptive immunity, as well as the host evasion immune mechanisms used by the virus. Finally, we briefly discuss how this knowledge can direct new research and be harnessed for future therapeutic strategies.



We are grateful to Instituto Pasteur for the institutional support and to Samuel da Silva for his assistance with figures.

Compliance with ethical standards


This study did not receive financial support.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto PasteurSão PauloBrazil

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