Apoptosis in fatal Ebola infection. Does the virus toll the bell for immune system?

Apoptosis. 2000 Feb;5(1):5-7. doi: 10.1023/a:1009657006550.


In fatal Ebola virus hemorrhagic fever massive intravascular apoptosis develops rapidly following infection and progressing relentlessly until death. While data suggest that T lymphocytes are mainly deleted by apoptosis in PBMC of human fatal cases, experimental Ebola infection in animal models have shown some evidence of destruction of lymphocytes in spleen and lymph nodes probably involving both T and B cells. Nevertheless, we are able to conclude from the accumulated evidence that early interactions between Ebola virus and the immune system, probably via macrophages, main targets for viral replication, lead to massive destruction of immune cells in fatal cases.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / immunology*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / immunology*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / mortality
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / pathology
  • Humans