Herpes simplex 1 a cause of constipation?


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Researchers at Yale, in a mouse study, discovered that herpes simplex 1 can cause nerve damage in the colon that prevents proper digestion.

Individuals with herpes have reported seemingly unrelated symptoms such as constipation and urinary retention (inability to empty the bladder), but the mechanism was not understood. The research team, led by Akiko Iwasaki, professor of immunobiology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, decided to investigate using mice models of herpes simplex virus-1, the dominant cause of genital herpes in the United States.
They found that the herpes virus spread from the genitals to nerves in the spinal chord, and then on to neurons in the colon, killing them. The damage to the colonic neurons prevented the movement of food along the digestive tract, leading to an enlarged colon and disease.


Well-Known Member
Wouldn't an enlarged colon show up in a colonoscopy? (Haven't read the article)
I confess that I know nothing about mouse colonoscopies.

While the effects in mice are distinct from what happens in people with herpes, the study reveals a previously unrecognized disease process. "The key findings is that there is this unexpected infection in the neurons in the colon wall after herpes infection," said Iwasaki. "Other members of the herpes virus family, including Epstein-Barr virus, chicken pox virus, and cytomegalovirus have been found in the neurons of the colon of people with unexplained chronic constipation. When doctors can't figure out the cause of these chronic intestinal conditions, one thing to look at is a viral infection."

You can find a little more information at Cell Host & Microbe, highlights and summary. Access to the full paper is restricted. http://www.cell.com/cell-host-microbe/fulltext/S1931-3128(16)30204-9
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Who Me?

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I can't read technical stuff which explains why I knew nothing about Mouse colonoscopies. Lol

What you don't?


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Certainly frustrating not to be able to read what you want to read. Sometimes deciphering the meaning of one sentence feels like too much.

At the moment I'm wrestling with your "What you don't?" If this question is meant to be answered, I can't think what to say.

Perhaps you are saying that neither of us understand mouse colonoscopies.

For the mice in this study the nerve damage was so severe that the resulting constipation was lethal without the intervention of researchers, who administered a laxative. As undigested material built up and built up, those little colons enlarged. I guess.

Who Me?

Well-Known Member
I was just thinking about that. That I know what was in my head but you don't.

What I meant to say was, I don't know anything about mouse colonoscopies because I can't read but what, you don't know about mouse colonscopies? It was meant as a joke about my feeble brain.

I can't even read anything else you wrote.

Who Me?

Well-Known Member
Dont feel sorry for me. It's not a difficulty, it's just what it is. Nothing in the scheme of things and not worthy of a second thought. I prefer to ignore the deficits and deal with what I do have!

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