The Role of Oxidative Stress in Viral Infections

Authors

  • M. A. BECK,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Pediatcics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7220, USA
    2. Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7220, USA
      a Address for correspondence: Melinda A. Beck, Ph.D., Department of Pediatrics, 535 Burnett-Womack, CB #7220, University of NC at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7220, USA. Voice: 919-966-6809; fax: 919-966-0135. melinda_beck@unc.edu
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  • J. HANDY,

    1. Department of Pediatcics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7220, USA
    2. Departments of Microbiology and Immunology and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7220, USA
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  • O. A. LEVANDER

    1. Department of Pediatcics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7220, USA
    2. Nutrient Requirements and Functions Laboratory, USDA, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Beltsville, Maryland, USA
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a Address for correspondence: Melinda A. Beck, Ph.D., Department of Pediatrics, 535 Burnett-Womack, CB #7220, University of NC at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7220, USA. Voice: 919-966-6809; fax: 919-966-0135. melinda_beck@unc.edu

Abstract

Abstract: Oxidative stress is implicated as a pathogenic factor in a number of viral infections. Our work has shown that nutritionally induced oxidative stress exacerbates the pathogenesis of coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) infection in mice. Of particular note, mice fed on a diet deficient in antioxidants developed myocarditis when infected with a normally benign strain of CVB3. This change in virulence was found to be due to changes in the viral genome. Immune functions of the oxidatively stressed mice were also altered. Another example of the effect of oxidative stress on a viral pathogen took place in Cuba in the 1990s. An epidemic of optic and peripheral neuropathy in the population occurred that was associated with a lack of dietary antioxidants and with smoking (a pro-oxidant). A coxsackie-like virus was isolated from the cerebrospinal fluid from 84% of patients cultured. Thus, oxidative stress can have profound effects, not only on the host, but on the pathogen as well.

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