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Japanese encephalitis is the commonest form of encephalitis globally. Most cases develop characteristic encephalitis but some also present with flaccid paralysis. The paralysis is secondary to damage at the alpha motor neurone, the site that is also damaged in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The gene coding for superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) is thought to be involved in ALS and may also be linked to susceptibility to Japanese encephalitis. To investigate this possibility, polymorphisms in the SOD1 gene were investigated, in 61 cases of Japanese encephalitis, 61 matched controls and 171 population controls, in Vietnam. Novel polymorphisms, found only in three of the cases and one of the population controls, may be involved with susceptibility to Japanese encephalitis and potentially to other flavivirus infections that lead to damage to the cells of the anterior horn. Further research on this possible association is required.

Original publication




Journal article


Ann Trop Med Parasitol

Publication Date





631 - 636


Adolescent, Child, Child, Preschool, Encephalitis, Japanese, Female, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Humans, Infant, Male, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Superoxide Dismutase, Superoxide Dismutase-1