Creative Living: Music Industry Turns to Social Media To Bring Solace in Times of Pandemic  |  National Edu News: Hack the Crisis, Online Hackathon for Covid 19 Solutions  |  National Edu News: HRD Minister launches MHRD AICTE COVID-19 Student Helpline Portal   |  Science Innovations: University of Pittsburgh Covid-19 Vaccine Undergoes Animal Trials Successfully  |  Teacher Insights: UNICEF launches #ReadtheWorld initiative for children   |  Science Innovations: Covid-19 -Tracing the Route Map of the Clever Spiky Protein  |  Teacher Insights: Dr Christine Yao announced as BBC New Generation Thinker  |  International Edu News: New research on COVID-19's impact on youth mental health   |  Teacher Insights: Cambridge researchers awarded European Research Council funding  |  International Edu News: Oxford University launches world’s first COVID-19 government response tracker  |  Parent Interventions: New treatment for childhood anxiety works by changing parent behaviour  |  Parent Interventions: Single mutation leads to big effects in autism-related gene  |  Parent Interventions: Breastfeeding and tongue-tie in infants  |  Parent Interventions: How to support teens during Covid-19  |  Health Monitor: DST-SERB announces first set of approved projects to combat CoVID-19   |  
October 28, 2017 Saturday 05:16:44 PM IST

How Zika virus infects developing brain

Health Monitor

New York : Researchers have found that the Zika virus is transmitted from mother to a foetus by infected cells that will later go on to develop into the brain's first and primary form of defence against the invasive pathogens.

"It's a Trojan Horse strategy. During embryogenesis -- the early stages of prenatal development -- cells called microglia form in the yolk sac and then disperse throughout the central nervous system of the developing child," said Alysson Muotri, professor at the University of California - San Diego.

In the brain, these microglia will become resident macrophages whose job is to constantly clear away plaques, damaged cells and infectious agents. However, considering the timing of transmission, the researchers hypothesised that microglia might be serving as a Trojan horse to transport the virus during invasion of the central nervous system.

"Our findings show that the Zika virus can infect these early microglia, sneaking into the brain where they transmit the virus to other brain cells, resulting in the devastating neurological damage we see in some newborns," Muotri added.


For the study, published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics, the team used human induced pluripotent stem cells to create two relevant central nervous system cell types: microglia and neural progenitor cells (NPCs) and examined their interactions in vitro when exposed to the Zika virus.

The researchers found that the microglia cells engulfed Zika-infected NPCs, doing their job. But when these microglia carrying the virus were placed in contact with non-infected NPCs, they transmitted the virus to the latter. 

"That suggests microglia may indeed be the culprit for transmitting the virus to the central nervous system during prenatal neurodevelopment," Muotri noted. The researchers suggests that microglial cells could be a therapeutic target for reducing Zika transmission into the central nervous system of developing foetuses.


Comments