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Borna disease virus

    Human mental disorders are complex diseases of unclear etiology and it’s caused deep concern for public health. Viruses infection has been suggested to paly a important role in mental disorders besides genetic and non-infectious environmental factors. This point is supported by persistent viral infections in the central nervous system (CNS) that result in behavioral diseases in a wide range of animals. Chief among them is the infection by borna disease virus (BDV), a non-segmented , negative-stranded RNA virus. It’s a highly neurotropic, non-cytolytic virus to investigate the impact of viruses on neuronal function and behavior. BDV infection has been associated with a large spectrum of neurological disorders, ranging from immune-mediated diseases to behavioral alterations without inflammation. Serological evidence suggests that BDV, or a BDV-like virus, infects humans, although its role in psychiatric disorders remains controversial.

      Our research focuses on verifying the close association between BDV and mental disorders(such as major depression disorder) and elucidating the pivotal role of BDV in pathogenesis of depression. In previous study, we conducted an epidemiological survey of horse, sheep, cattle, donkey, deer and humans with neurological disorders in west China, and demonstrated dramatic epidemics of BDV infection in animals in western China. We also reported possible association between BDV infection and human viral encephalitis for the first time. Our current research includes epidemiological investigation of BDV infection in patients with psychiatric disorders in Chongqing of China, aiming to provide further evidence of association between BDV and psychiatric disorders. Besides, we perform BDV study in vitro and vivo by means of traditional tool of molecular biology, novel strategies of systems biology such as transcriptomics, proteomics, metabonomics, aiming to elucidate the  mechanisms underlying non-lytic viral persistent infections of the CNS  and get further understanding of correlation between BDV and mental disorders.