Zika Virus Infects Developing Brain by First Infecting Cells Meant to Defend Against It
Discovery may explain how virus is transmitted from pregnant women to their unborn children
Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Brazil, report that the Zika virus is transmitted from mother to fetus by infected cells that, ironically, will later develop into the brain’s first and primary form of defense against invasive pathogens.
“It’s a Trojan Horse strategy,” said Alysson Muotri, PhD, professor in the UC San Diego School of Medicine departments of Pediatrics and Cellular and Molecular Medicine. “During embryogenesis — the early stages of prenatal development — cells called microglia form in the yolk sac and then disperse throughout the central nervous system (CNS) of the developing child.
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