Indian Scientists have recently found that the cancer-causing virus Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) affects the glial cells or the non-neural cells in the central nervous system and alters molecules like phospho-inositols (PIP); a type of lipid, glycerol, and cholesterol, when the virus infects the brain cells.
This could pave the path towards understanding the probable role of the virus in neurodegenerative pathologies, especially given the fact that the virus has been detected in brain tissue of the patients suffering from neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson and multiple Sclerosis.
The EBV can cause cancers like nasopharyngeal carcinoma (a type of head and neck cancer), B-cell (a type of white blood cells) cancer, stomach cancer, Burkett’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, post-transplant lymphoid disorders, and so on. More than 95% of the adult population is positive for EBV. However, the infection is mostly asymptomatic, and very little is known about the factors which trigger the development of such disease. It was the detection of the virus in patients with neurodegenerative diseases that triggered the search for the mechanism of propagation of the virus.
Scientists’ teams from the Departments of Physics (led by Dr. Rajesh Kumar) and Biosciences and Biomedical Engineering (Dr. Hem Chandra Jha) at IIT Indore along with their collaborator, Dr. Fouzia Siraj, at National Institute of Pathology (ICMR), New Delhi, used Raman Spectroscopy System supported by “Fund For Improvement of S&T Infrastructure (FIST)” scheme of Department of Science and Technology to trace the propagation mechanism of the virus. Research scholars Ms. Deeksha Tiwari, Ms. Shweta Jakhmola, and Mr. Devesh Pathak also contributed to this study published recently in the journal ‘ACS Omega’.