Viral encephalitis is a significant cause of human morbidity and mortality in large part due to suboptimal diagnosis and treatment. Murine reovirus infection serves as a classic experimental model of viral encephalitis. Infection of neonatal mice with T3 reoviruses results in lethal encephalitis associated with neuronal infection, apoptosis, and CNS tissue injury. We have developed an ex vivo brain slice culture (BSC) system that recapitulates the basic pathological features and kinetics of viral replication seen in vivo. We utilize the BSC model to identify an innate, brain-tissue specific inflammatory cytokine response to reoviral infection, which is characterized by the release of IL6, CXCL10, RANTES, and murine IL8 analog (KC). Additionally, we demonstrate the potential utility of this system as a pharmaceutical screening platform by inhibiting reovirus-induced apoptosis and CNS tissue injury with the pan-caspase inhibitor, Q-VD-OPh. Cultured brain slices not only serve to model events occurring during viral encephalitis, but can also be utilized to investigate aspects of pathogenesis and therapy that are not experimentally accessible in vivo.
- Brain slice
- Ex vivo