Gancyclovir

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Gancyclovir (brand name Cytovene) is an antiviral drug with activity against cytomegalovirus.[citation needed]

A 2014 study in mice suggested gancyclovir reduced microglial activation;[1] however follow-up mice studies and in vitro research found it did not have this effect.[2]

The authors of the 2014 paper later published a follow-up paper (2017) based on in vitro and in vivo experiments using ganciclovir. This time they found a potentially pro-inflammatory response, specifically that ganciclovir, in sufficient doses, might stimulate a type-I interferon response in microglia. The authors attributed this response to a DNA-sensing protein called STING. While this result might appear to contradict their earlier anti-neuroinflammatory finding, they suggest it could indicate ganciclovir (GCV) "can exhibit dual function in microglia [...]: in naïve state, GCV induces microglia to be 'primed'; on the other hand, GCV reduces inflammation in active microglia."[3]

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microglia - A type of immune cell, called a macrophage, that lives in the brain. For historical reasons, macrophages have different names based on the part of the body that they normally live in. Macrophages that normally live in the blood are called monocytes. Macrophages that normally live in the skin are called Langerhans cells. Macrophages that normally live in the liver are called Kupffer cells. And macrophages that normally live in the central nervous system are called microglia. Microglia were originally classified as glial cells, under the assumption that the cells had a merely structural function, before it was realized that the cells were in fact immune cells. As the "sentinel cells" of the central nervous system, microglia survey their environment for abnormalities such as infection or tissue damage, and then initiate an immune response to fight the infection or repair the tissue damage.

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