The role of human herpesvirus-6 infection and alcohol abuse in the development of neuroinflammation

Project Details


Alcohol consumption causes a high risk of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Chronic alcohol use alters multiple organs, and the central nervous system (CNS) is particularly vulnerable to alcohol-induced changes. Although it is known that alcohol has vasoactive properties, previous studies have not investigated the relationship between the altered integrity of the blood-brain barrier essential for the spread of lymphotropic viral infections. Also, the origin of neuroinflammation in alcohol addicts is not quite clear. After the primary infection, neurotropic human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) can establish an asymptomatic persistence, however, it is also associated with a wide spectrum of CNS diseases. Despite the current knowledge, neither the most affected brain areas nor the role of the brain environment in HHV-6 infection-induced neurological disorders is fully clarified. In our previous studies, we have demonstrated alterations in the human olfactory pathways associated with HHV-6 infection in the case of encephalopathy. A better chance to acquire data on the distribution of HHV-6 may be obtained by using modern molecular virology and morphology technologies. The principal goal of the project is to detect the presence of HHV-6 and its target cells in the brain of chronic alcoholics in order to identify if tissues’ inflammatory response due to alcohol addiction is increased by HHV-6 infection or vice versa, the inflammation caused by HHV-6 is exacerbated by alcohol use.
Effective start/end date1/12/2031/12/21


  • Latvian Council of Science: €100,389.00

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


  • Alcohol addiction
  • neuroinflammation
  • blood-brain barrier
  • HHV-6
  • PCR
  • light microscopy
  • electron microscopy

Field of Science

  • 3.1 Basic medicine

Smart Specialization Area

  • Biomedicine, medical technologies and biotechnology


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