Drug-Screening Strategies for Inhibition of Virus-Induced Neuronal Cell Death.

Journal: Viruses

A number of viruses, including Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), West Nile Virus (WNV), La Crosse Virus (LACV), Zika virus (ZIKV) and Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV), have the ability to gain access to the central nervous system (CNS) and cause severe neurological disease or death. Although encephalitis cases caused by these viruses are generally rare, there are relatively few treatment options available for patients with viral encephalitis other than palliative care. Many of these viruses directly infect neurons and can cause neuronal death. Thus, there is the need for the identification of useful therapeutic compounds that can inhibit virus replication in neurons or inhibit virus-induced neuronal cell death. In this paper, we describe the methodology to test compounds for their ability to inhibit virus-induced neuronal cell death. These protocols include the isolation and culturing of primary neurons; the culturing of neuroblastoma and neuronal stem cell lines; infection of these cells with viruses; treatment of these cells with selected drugs; measuring virus-induced cell death using MTT or XTT reagents; analysis of virus production from these cells; as well as the basic understanding in mode of action. We further show direct evidence of the effectiveness of these protocols by utilizing them to test the effectiveness of the polyphenol drug, Rottlerin, at inhibiting Zika virus infection and death of neuronal cell lines.

Durbadal Ojha, yson A Woods, arin E Peterson

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