Human Borna disease virus-infection and its therapy in affective disorders

APMIS Suppl. 2008;(124):61-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0463.2008.00m10.x.


Patients with affective disorders show an enhanced prevalence of Borna disease virus (BDV)-infection. Furthermore, BDV causes latent infection preferably in limbic central nervous structures and is suggested to be causally related to subtypes of affective disorders, especially with melancholic clinical features or bipolarity. Such a possible link was highlighted by the first report of amantadine showing an antidepressive and an antiviral efficacy against BDV in a patient with a bipolar disorder. This article summarizes clinical studies which followed this first report on the use of amantadine in BDV-infected patients with an affective disorder. A special focus is given on an open clinical study in patients with depression (n = 25), a study in remitted patients with affective disorders (n = 16), and the effect of amantadine on severe hypomanic or moderately manic patients with a bipolar disorder in an on-off-on study. In these studies amantadine reduced clinical symptoms paralleled by a reduction of BDV-infection in depressive patients, it also reduced all three BDV-parameters (BDV-Ab, -AG, and -CICs) in remitted patients, and it even reduced severe hypomania and moderate mania in bipolar patients. These data suggest the existence of an etiopathogenetic link between BDV and subtypes of affective disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amantadine / therapeutic use*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Borna Disease / drug therapy*
  • Borna disease virus / pathogenicity*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mood Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Mood Disorders / physiopathology
  • Virulence


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Amantadine