Rabies: Neurobiology

  • Monique Lafon


Rabies virus is a neurotropic virus that replicates and propagates into the nervous system of the infected host. Successful achievement of the virus cycle from the site of entry (usually due to a bite) up to the site of exit (salivary glands) relies on the preservation of the neuronal network. Once the rabies virus has entered the nervous system, its progression is not interrupted by the host defence mechanisms. This virus has evolved sophisticated strategies to (1) disarm premature destruction of the infected neurons and prolong the life span of the infected neurons, (2) evade the innate immune response launched by the infected neurons, and (3) eliminate the protective T cells migrating into the nervous system. In addition, by targeting the nervous system that has the striking capacity to centrally control the immune response, the rabies virus infection benefits also from disarmed host defences. The successful adaptation of the virus to the mammalian nervous system may explain why rabies is fatal in almost all the cases.


Rabies virus Neglected diseases Neuroinflammatin Innate immune response IFN PD-L1 B7-H1 Evasive strategies T cells Apoptosis 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unité de Neuroimmunologie Virale, Département de VirologieInstitut PasteurParisFrance

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