Talbot, Pierre PhD


INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, Université du Québec
531, boulevard des Prairie, Laval, QC H7V 1B7
(450) 686-5515
(450) 686-5566

Research Profile

Dr. Talbot’s research program deals with coronaviruses in the context of neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), in patients, in neural cell cultures and in an animal model of virus-induced MS-like diseases. Multiple sclerosis disease etiology is not known but is suspected to involve both genetic susceptibility and environmental triggering factors, the latter most likely viruses. It is suspected that infection by one or several common pathogen(s) before adolescence triggers MS in genetically susceptible individuals, as manifested by autoimmune reactions against antigens of the myelin sheaths surrounding nerve fibers in the central nervous system (CNS), as well as neurodegeneration. Among the several viral candidates for induction of MS are the coronaviruses, a family of common respiratory pathogens involved in as many as 30% of common colds (a variant of which causes SARS) and which cause neurologic diseases in mice, as animal model of human disease. Importantly, strains of murine coronavirus (MHV) cause an acute encephalitis that develops into a chronic recurrent demyelinating disease that is one of the best animal model of human MS. Dr. Talbot's research team has detected the presence of these viruses in human brains, determined the susceptibility to human coronavirus infection of neural and glial cells in continuous and primary cultures, as well as their activation to produce neuroinflammatory mediators, and identified a striking human coronavirus-myelin cross-reactive T-cell response in MS patients but not controls, even at the clonal level. Moreover, he has recently shown that murine coronavirus infection of mice triggers both the activation of myelin-reactive T-cells and a transient immunosupppression, and that human respiratory coronaviruses cause an encephalitis in mice that is transformed to a demyelinating MS-like disease after evolution of virus in persistent infections of human neural cells. Studies in progress deal mostly with the characterization of the interaction of human coronaviruses with target human neurons ex vivo, and with the immune and nervous systems of susceptible mice that leads to neuropathogenesis in the animal model of neurologic diseases with a probable viral component, such as multiple sclerosis.


Coronavirus, virus, neurotropism, neuroinvasion, multiple sclerosis, neurological disease, immunology, autoimmunity, animal models, neurons

Recent Publications

  • Desforges M, Le Coupanec A, Stodola JK, Meessen-Pinard M, Talbot PJ. Human coronaviruses: viral and cellular factors involved in neuroinvasiveness and neuropathogenesis. Virus Res. 2014 Dec 19;194:145-58. doi: 10.1016/j.virusres.2014.09.011.
  • Brison E, Jacomy H, Desforges M, Talbot PJ. Novel treatment with neuroprotective and antiviral properties against a neuroinvasive human respiratory virus. J Virol. 2014 Feb;88(3):1548-63. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02972-13.
  • Desforges M, Le Coupanec A, Brison E, Meessen-Pinard M, Talbot PJ. Neuroinvasive and neurotropic human respiratory coronaviruses: potential neurovirulent agents in humans. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014;807:75-96. doi: 10.1007/978-81-322-1777-0_6. Review.