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Study Finds Multiple Problems In Fetuses Exposed To Zika Virus

submitted by John Carroll


A woman who is six months pregnant shows a photo of her ultrasound at the IMIP hospital in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil, on Wednesday. Scientists are trying to figure out how Zika virus may be affecting fetuses.  Felipe Dana/AP

CLICK HERE - NEJM - Zika Virus Infection in Pregnant Women in Rio de Janeiro — Preliminary Report - by Rob Stein - March 4, 2016

The Zika virus has sparked international alarm largely because of fears that the pathogen is causing microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with unusually small heads and damaged brains.

But the preliminary results of a study released Friday suggest Zika can also cause other potentially grave complications for fetuses carried by women who get infected while they are pregnant.

"There seems to be a whole spectrum of conditions that are related to this — not only microcephaly," says Karin Nielsen-Saines, a professor of clinical pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA who led the study.


ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE - New findings point to Zika as the culprit behind babies’ brain damage


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Zika virus impairs growth in human neurospheres, brain organoids - March 4, 2016


Since the emergence of Zika virus (ZIKV), reports of microcephaly have increased dramatically in Brazil; however, causality between the widespread epidemic and malformations in fetal brains has not been confirmed. Here, we examine the effects of ZIKV infection in human neural stem cells growing as neurospheres and cerebral organoids. Using immunocytochemistry and electron microscopy, we show that ZIKV targets human brain cells, reducing their viability and growth as neurospheres and cerebral organoids. These results suggest that ZIKV abrogates neurogenesis during human brain development.

Garcez PP, Loiola EC, Madeiro da Costa RF, Higa L, Trindade P, Delvecchio R, Nascimento JM, Brindeiro RM, Tanuri A, Rehen SK. (2016) Zika virus impairs growth in human neurospheres and brain organoids. PeerJ Preprints 4:e1817v2

Zika caught 'killing' brain cells

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Cell Stem Cell - Zika Virus Infects Human Cortical Neural Progenitors and Attenuates Their Growth - by James Gallagher - March 4, 2016

Zika virus kills the type of tissue found in the developing brain, researchers have shown.

It was able to destroy or disrupt the growth of neural progenitor cells, which build the brain and nervous system, in lab tests.

The discovery, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, adds weight to claims that Zika is causing brain abnormalities in babies.

However, the US researchers caution this is not yet the conclusive link.