Spread of pathogens to the nervous system is a serious complication of infections. In addition to infections with well-known microbes and viruses in the Western world, and the World Health Organization priorities of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, several neglected tropical infectious diseases target the nervous system and have high mortality rates. Infections can cause cognitive and behavioral disturbances as well as late-onset epilepsy in survivors. The specialized environment in the brain dampens immune responses to avoid harmful effects on the nonrenewable nervous tissue. Some pathogens can therefore evade efficient elimination, persist, and be involved in interactions with nervous tissue that create balances, which, if lost by the host, can result in long-term functional disturbances. Viruses also can be useful tools to study the structure and function of the nervous system. Neuroscience can disclose mechanisms of neurodegeneration and brain dysfunctions from studies of the interplay among pathogens, nervous tissues, and immune responses that could lead to better management of brain disorders.
Neurobiology of Brain Disorders (Second Edition) Biological Basis of Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders 2023, Pages 481-500,