AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 4, 2017

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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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Calendar/Courses

Spine World Summit
Jan. 26, 2018 - Jan. 27, 2018; Hong Kong

6th Ottawa Neurosurgery Review Course
Feb. 3, 2018 - Feb. 10, 2018; Ottawa, ON Canada

Winter Clinics for Cranial and Spinal Surgery
Feb. 25, 2018 - Mar. 1, 2018; Snowmass Village, Colo.

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