Mitochondrial dysfunction in rabies virus infection of neurons

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Alandijany, Thamir Abdulaziz A
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Infection with challenge virus standard-11 (CVS) strain, a laboratory fixed rabies virus strain, induces neuronal process degeneration in both in vivo and in vitro models. CVS-induced axonal swellings of primary rodent dorsal root ganglion neurons are associated with 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal staining indicating a critical role of oxidative stress. Mitochondrial dysfunction is one of the most important causes of oxidative stress. We hypothesized that CVS infection induces mitochondrial dysfunction leading to oxidative stress. We investigated the effects of CVS infection on several mitochondrial parameters in different cell types. CVS infection increased electron transport chain capacity, Complex I and IV activities, but did not affect Complex II-III, citrate synthase, and malate dehydrogenase activities. CVS maintained normal oxidative phosphorylation capacity and proton leak, indicating a tight mitochondrial coupling. Possibly as a result of enhanced Complex activity and efficient coupling, a high mitochondrial membrane potential was generated. CVS infection reduced the intracellular ATP level and altered the cellular redox state as indicated by high NADH/NAD+ ratio. CVS infection was associated with a higher rate of hydrogen peroxide production. We conclude that CVS infection induces mitochondrial dysfunction leading to ROS overgeneration, oxidative stress and neuronal process degeneration.
rabies, oxidative stress, rabies pathogenesis, reactive oxygen species