Virus Vasculopathy and Stroke: An Under-Recognized Cause and Treatment Target

Author(s): M. A. Nagel, R. Mahalingam, R. J. Cohrs, D. Gilden

Journal Name: Infectious Disorders - Drug Targets
Formerly Current Drug Targets - Infectious Disorders

Volume 10 , Issue 2 , 2010

Become EABM
Become Reviewer
Call for Editor


While arteriosclerotic disease and hypertension, with or without diabetes, are the most common causes of stroke, viruses may also produce transient ischemic attacks and stroke. The three most-well studied viruses in this respect are varicella zoster virus (VZV), cytomegalovirus (CMV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), all of which are potentially treatable with antiviral agents. Productive VZV infection in cerebral arteries after reactivation (zoster) or primary infection (varicella) has been documented as a cause of ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, aneurysms with subarachnoid and intracerebral hemorrhage, arterial ectasia and as a co-factor in cerebral arterial dissection. CMV has been suggested to play a role in the pathogenesis of arteriosclerotic plaques in cerebral arteries. HIV patients have a small but definite increased incidence of stroke which may be due to either HIV infection or opportunistic VZV infection in these immunocompromised individuals. Importantly, many described cases of vasculopathy in HIV-infected patients were not studied for the presence of anti-VZV IgG antibody in CSF, a sensitive indicator of VZV vasculopathy. Unlike the well-documented role of VZV in vasculopathy, evidence for a causal link between HIV or CMV and stroke remains indirect and awaits further studies demonstrating productive HIV and CMV infection of cerebral arteries in stroke patients. Nonetheless, all three viruses have been implicated in stroke and should be considered in clinical diagnoses.

Keywords: Virus vasculopathy, VZV, HIV, CMV

Rights & PermissionsPrintExport Cite as

Article Details

Year: 2010
Published on: 01 March, 2012
Page: [105 - 111]
Pages: 7
DOI: 10.2174/187152610790963537
Price: $65

Article Metrics

PDF: 1