The Role of Astrocytes, Microglia, and Endothelial Cells in Coronavirus-Induced Demyelination
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Infection of neurotropic strains of coronaviruses in susceptible animals results in acute encephalomyelitis followed by a chronic demyelinating disease, similar to multiple sclerosis (MS). Although the mechanism of chronic coronavirus-induced demyelination is not entirely clear, studies show that it is mostly immune-mediated. Astrocytes, microglia and endothelial cells play an important role in normal functions as well as in immunologic and pathologic processes in the central nervous system (CNS). The interaction between coronaviruses and these cells induces various inflammatory mediators including cytokines, chemokines, MHC and NO, which acting in concert are involved in the pathogenesis of demyelination.