Borna Disease Virus

Last week I decided to research the Borna Disease Virus (BDV), partially because I love neuroscience and partially because it isn’t a commonly known virus! BDV a neurotropic virus that is most common in horses and other animals that usually causes abnormal behavior and fatality. It is still controversial if BDV plays any role in human mental disorders, although there has been recorded linkage between BDV and bipolar and schizophrenia (present BDV antibodies detected). It is thought that it is transmitted through saliva or nasal secretions. Through experiments with rats, it appears that the virus causes learning impairments and altered social behavior (in some cases meningitis). Its been demonstrated that the virus infects the limbic system (emotion). As the disease develops, seizures, ataxia, paraplegia, and other neurodegenerative symptoms persist; the immune response usually results in immune-mediated death of infected and neighboring cells, thus degradation of mental processes.

BDV is non-segmented, negative-sense ssRNA virus with at least six identified orfs producing proteins N, P, M, G, L, and p10 (uses enzymes to create a + strand). It is known to replicate in the nucleus of neural cells. The method of transmission is still unclear.