Friday, 23 March 2018

West Nile virus can cause fetal brain damage


Two viruses closely related to Zika -- West Nile and Powassan -- can spread from an infected pregnant mouse to her fetuses, causing brain damage and fetal death, according to a new study. The findings suggest that Zika may not be unique in its ability to cause miscarriages and birth defects.

Researchers injected female mice at day six of their pregnancies with one of the four viruses, then examined the placentas and fetuses a week later.

All four viruses infected the placentas and fetuses, but levels of West Nile virus were 23- to 1,500-fold higher than those of the other three viruses in the placentas, and 3,000- to 16,000-fold higher in the heads of the fetal mice.

In addition, brain tissue from West Nile-infected fetuses showed severe damage under the microscope, while brain tissue from chikungunya-infected fetuses appeared healthy.

See:

Derek J. Platt, Amber M. Smith, Nitin Arora, Michael S. Diamond, Carolyn B. Coyne, Jonathan J. Miner. Zika virus–related neurotropic flaviviruses infect human placental explants and cause fetal demise in miceScience Translational Medicine, 2018; 10 (426): eaao7090 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aao7090

 Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

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