Research, Scientific Breakthroughs, & Caregiver Tips
Is Encephalitis Hereditary?
In general, there seems to be little connection between family health history and the development of encephalitis. One study, however, has suggested that susceptibility to one type of encephalitis might come from a deficiency in a particular gene, and that deficiency might be inherited within families.
In 2006, researchers in France found that some otherwise healthy patients had an inability to produce a protein that helps the immune system to recognize viruses and other pathogens. The lack of this protein made the patients’ cells vulnerable to herpes simplex type 1 infections.
The researchers suggested that this vulnerability could lead to an increased risk of developing herpes simplex encephalitis. Further, they suggested that the gene mutation that causes protein deficiency could be inherited, rather than being caused by external environmental factors.
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