Cornelia  Bergmann,  Ph.D.

Cornelia Bergmann, Ph.D.


Professor, Molecular Medicine, CCLCM-CWRU

Lerner Research Institute, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195
Location: NB3-88

Phone: (216) 444-5922
Fax: (216) 444-7927


Our research focuses on immune responses to viral infections in the central nervous system (CNS), with an emphasis on persistent infections and immune-pathology manifested by demyelination. Neurotropic coronavirus-induced encephalomyelitis is used to investigate how resident CNS cells trigger and modulate immune function. Although innate and adaptive immune responses join forces to control virus, it persists in the CNS at low levels. Our goal is to dissect the contribution of distinct lymphocyte subsets to long-term virus control as well as demyelinating disease. These insights will assist in developing strategies not only to combat acute CNS infections, but also to maintain control of endogenous viruses during immunemodulatory treatment of autoimmune inflammation. Three projects are under way: 1. Characterization of innate immune responses in glia. We are investigating how type I interferon induced antiviral activities (OAS/RNaseL, PKR, IFIT1/2) affect viral control in distinct cell types. 2. Regulation of CNS-infiltrating T cells by inhibitory factors. Our studies revealed that efficient viral control by CD8 T cells is dampened by inhibitory factors but enhanced by CD4 T cells, which are also major effectors of pathology. Efforts are underway to understand the mechanisms underlying CD4 T cell help to CD8 T cells on one side, but enhanced neuronal damage on another. 3. Maintenance of humoral immunity within the CNS. Intrathecal antibody-secreting cells control virus re-emergence during the persistent phase of infection. Various transgenic and knockout mice are used to characterize factors regulating B cell entry, differentiation and maintenance within the CNS.

Lay Summary

Dr. Bergmann's research explores how the immune system controls viral infections  of the central nervous system (CNS), while minimizing tissue destruction. Her studies evaluate how specialized cells of the CNS respond to virus infection and how these responses contribute to recruitment of protective leukocytes circulating in the blood into the CNS.  This work has revealed how various leukocyte populations and their distinct functions interact to control virus at distinct phases of disease. Ongoing research focuses on how specific immune functions can be manipulated to maximize viral control without leading to overt pathology involving neuronal damage.

Selected Publications (2014-present):

Pillai JA, Bebek G, Khrestian M, Bena J, Bergmann CC, Bush WS, Leverenz JB, Bekris LM. (2021) TNFRSF1B Gene Variants and Related Soluble TNFR2 Levels Impact Resilience in Alzheimer's Disease. Front Aging Neurosci. 13:638922. PMID: 33716716; PMCID: PMC7947258

Hwang M, Bergmann CC. (2020) Neuronal Ablation of Alpha/Beta Interferon (IFN-α/β) Signaling Exacerbates Central Nervous System Viral Dissemination and Impairs IFN-γ Responsiveness in Microglia/Macrophages. J Virol. 94(20):e00422-20. PMID: 32796063; PMCID: PMC7527041

Bergmann CC, Silverman RH. (2020) COVID-19: Coronavirus replication, pathogenesis, and therapeutic strategies. Cleve Clin J Med. 87(6):321-327. PMID: 32366502

Atkinson JR, Hwang M, Reyes-Rodriguez A, Bergmann CC. (2019) Dynamics of Virus-Specific Memory B Cells and Plasmablasts following Viral Infection of the Central Nervous System. J Virol. 93(2). pii: e00875-18. PMID: 30333176; PMCID: PMC6321933

Hwang M, Bergmann CC. (2019) Intercellular Communication Is Key for Protective IFNα/β Signaling During Viral Central Nervous System Infection. Viral Immunol. 32(1):1-6. PMID: 30222502

Savarin C, Bergmann CC. (2018) Fine Tuning the Cytokine Storm by IFN and IL-10 Following Neurotropic Coronavirus Encephalomyelitis. Front Immunol. 9:3022. PMID: 30619363; PMCID: PMC6306494

Savarin C, Dutta R, Bergmann CC. (2018) Distinct Gene Profiles of Bone Marrow-Derived Macrophages and Microglia During Neurotropic Coronavirus-Induced Demyelination. Front Immunol. 9:1325. PMID: 29942315; PMCID: PMC6004766

Valentin-Torres A, Savarin C, Barnett J, Bergmann CC. (2018) Blockade of sustained tumor necrosis factor in a transgenic model of progressive autoimmune encephalomyelitis limits oligodendrocyte apoptosis and promotes oligodendrocyte maturation. J Neuroinflammation 15(1):121. PMID: 29690885; PMCID: PMC5916830

Hwang M, Bergmann CC. (2018) IFNα/β signaling in astrocytes mediates protection against viral encephalomyelitis and regulates IFNγ dependent responses. J Virol. 92(10). pii: e01901-17. PMID: 29491163; PMCID: PMC5923078

Atkinson JR, Bergmann CC. (2017) Protective Humoral Immunity in the Central Nervous System Requires Peripheral CD19-Dependent Germinal Center Formation following Coronavirus Encephalomyelitis. J Virol. 91(23). pii: e01352-17. PMID: 28931676; PMCID: PMC5686739

DiSano KD, Stohlman SA, Bergmann CC. (2017) An optimized method for enumerating CNS derived memory B cells during viral-induced inflammation. J Neurosci Methods 285:58-68. PMID: 28495370; PMCID: PMC5545894

Savarin C, Bergmann CC. (2017) Viral-induced suppression of self-reactive T cells: Lessons from neurotropic coronavirus-induced demyelination. J Neuroimmunol. 308:12-16. PMID: 28108025; PMCID: PMC5474352

DiSano KD, Stohlman SA, Bergmann CC. (2017) Activated GL7+ B cells are maintained within the inflamed CNS in the absence of follicle formation during viral encephalomyelitis. Brain Behav Immun. 60:71-83. PMID: 27658544; PMCID: PMC5215090

Savarin C, Bergmann CC, Hinton DR, Stohlman SA. (2016) Differential Regulation of Self-reactive CD4+ T Cells in Cervical Lymph Nodes and Central Nervous System during Viral Encephalomyelitis. Front Immunol. 7:370. PMID: 27708643; PMCID: PMC5030268

Valentin-Torres A, Savarin C, Hinton DR, Phares TW, Bergmann CC, Stohlman SA. (2016) Sustained TNF production by central nervous system infiltrating macrophages promotes progressive autoimmune encephalomyelitis. J Neuroinflammation 13:46. PMID: 26906225; PMCID: PMC4763407

Phares TW, DiSano KD, Stohlman SA, Segal BM, Bergmann CC. (2016) CXCL13 promotes isotype-switched B cell accumulation to the central nervous system during viral encephalomyelitis. Brain Behav Immun. 54:128-39. PMID: 26795429; PMCID: PMC4828287

Savarin C, Bergmann CC, Gaignage M, Stohlman SA. (2015) Self-reactive CD4(+) T cells activated during viral-induced demyelination do not prevent clinical recovery. J Neuroinflammation 12:207. PMID: 26559484; PMCID: PMC4642610

Puntambekar SS, Hinton DR, Yin X, Savarin C, Bergmann CC, Trapp BD, Stohlman SA. (2015) Interleukin-10 is a critical regulator of white matter lesion containment following viral induced demyelination. Glia 63(11):2106-20. PMID: 26132901; PMCID: PMC4755156

Butchi N, Kapil P, Puntambekar S, Stohlman SA, Hinton DR, Bergmann CC. (2015) Myd88 Initiates Early Innate Immune Responses and Promotes CD4 T Cells during Coronavirus Encephalomyelitis. J Virol. 89(18):9299-312. PMID: 26136579; PMCID: PMC4542380

Savarin C, Hinton DR, Valentin-Torres A, Chen Z, Trapp BD, Bergmann CC, Stohlman SA. (2015) Astrocyte response to IFN-γ limits IL-6-mediated microglia activation and progressive autoimmune encephalomyelitis. J Neuroinflammation 12:79. PMID: 25896970; PMCID: PMC4410573

Hwang M, Phares TW, Hinton DR, Stohlman SA, Bergmann CC, Min B. (2014) Distinct CD4 T-cell effects on primary versus recall CD8 T-cell responses during viral encephalomyelitis. Immunology 144:374-86. PMID: 25187405; PMCID: PMC4557674

de Aquino MT, Kapil P, Hinton DR, Phares TW, Puntambekar SS, Savarin C, Bergmann CC, Stohlman SA. (2014) IL-27 limits central nervous system viral clearance by promoting IL-10 and enhances demyelination. J Immunol. 193(1):285-94. PMID: 24890725; PMCID: PMC4067872

Phares TW, DiSano KD, Stohlman SA, Bergmann CC. (2014) Progression from IgD+ IgM+ to isotype-switched B cells is site specific during coronavirus-induced encephalomyelitis. J Virol. 88(16):8853-67. PMID: 24872583; PMCID: PMC4136247

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