Persistence of Zika virus in the brain causes long-term problems in mice

Foci of ongoing apoptosis, surrounded by activated astrocytes, in the cerebellum of one-year-old mice infected at birth with the Zika virus. Infiltrating cells and a low level of virus replication can be detected in the foci. Increase. spots: dapi (blue), gfap (red), tunel (green). Courtesy: Ireland, DDC and Others 2020 (CCBY 2.0)

According to a study published December 10 in the journal PLOS Pathogens by Daniela Verteli of the us food and drug Administration, and colleagues, the zika virus can remain in the brains of mice for a long time, leading to long-term neurological and behavioral consequences. .

Infections in the perinatal period are associated with persistent cognitive impairment and an increased risk of psychological disorders. Congenital brain malformations associated with zika virus infection in early pregnancy are well documented. But the potential defects and long-term consequences associated with milder infections later in pregnancy and in the perinatal period are less well understood. To fill this gap in knowledge, Twirled and his colleagues were subjected to a one-day mice exposed to the virus, Zeke and monitor neurological and behavioral consequences until years later.

The animals developed a transient neurological syndrome characterized by unsteady gait, tremors, and convulsions 10-15 days after infection, but these symptoms disappeared after one week, and most of the animals survived. Despite the apparent recovery, a year later the zika virus and inflammation were detected in the Central nervous system of the mice. In these older mice, the volume of a brain region called the cerebellum was reduced, leading to significant long-term deficits in motor function and coordination. In addition, older mice showed anxiety, hyperactivity, and impulsive or risky behavior. Based on these findings, the authors recommend long-term neurological and behavioral follow-up of patients exposed to the virus at an early age, as well as antiviral treatment to clear resistant reservoirs from the brain.

The authors conclude:"there Is growing evidence that emerging viruses, such as zika and Chikungunya, can create reservoirs in immune-privileged sites and play a role in the development of chronic diseases."

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