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


  • 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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