Zika uses axons to spread havoc in central nervous system

January 27, 2017 by Bill Hathaway, Yale University
Zika uses axons to spread havoc in central nervous system
Zika virus-infected neurons and glia in the developing mouse cerebellum are shown in purple. Credit: Yale University

The Zika virus wreaks havoc in the central nervous system well after the initial stages of pregnancy and can use long axon projections of neurons to spread, a new Yale School of Medicine study suggests. 

The researchers tracked infections in the brains of newborn mice, the equivalent developmentally to a second trimester fetus in human pregnancy.  Zika's ability to stunt brain development and cause microcephaly soon after conception is well documented. The new study suggests the virus can continue to spread to areas of the brain such as the visual system in later brain development.

"And within seven days of outside the brain, we see evidence of infection in most areas of the brain," said Anthony van den Pol, professor of neurosurgery and lead author of the study published Jan. 25 in the Journal of Neuroscience. The study suggests that the virus may also cause other that would be more difficult to diagnose than microcephaly, he said.

Explore further: Mouse model reveals extensive postnatal brain damage caused by Zika infection

More information: Anthony N. van den Pol et al. Zika virus targeting in the developing brain, The Journal of Neuroscience (2017). DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3124-16.2017

Related Stories

Mouse model reveals extensive postnatal brain damage caused by Zika infection

November 22, 2016
A team of scientists led by researchers at the University of Georgia has developed a new mouse model that closely mimics fetal brain abnormalities caused by the Zika virus in humans.

Study found brain abnormalities in fetuses exposed to Zika

January 23, 2017
In a study to be presented Friday, Jan. 27, in the oral concurrent session, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, researchers with the Baylor College of Medicine Department of ...

How we know Zika virus causes Guillain-Barre Syndrome and birth defects

January 3, 2017
A structured analysis of the evidence confirms that infection with mosquito-borne Zika virus is a cause of the neurological disorder Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), in addition to microcephaly and other congenital brain abnormalities, ...

Study shows how Zika attacks infant brain

December 13, 2016
(HealthDay)—New research paints a chilling portrait of how Zika ravages the infant brain.

Team discovers how Zika virus causes fetal brain damage

August 24, 2016
Infection by the Zika virus diverts a key protein necessary for neural cell division in the developing human fetus, thereby causing the birth defect microcephaly, a team of Yale scientists reported Aug. 24 in the journal ...

In Colombia, deformed babies quadrupled amid Zika crisis: CDC

December 9, 2016
Four times the number of babies born with skull deformities linked to Zika virus were reported in Colombia this year following the outbreak of the mosquito-borne infection, said a US government report Friday.

Recommended for you

Study in mice suggests personalized stem cell treatment may offer relief for multiple sclerosis

February 22, 2018
Scientists have shown in mice that skin cells re-programmed into brain stem cells, transplanted into the central nervous system, help reduce inflammation and may be able to help repair damage caused by multiple sclerosis ...

Neuroscientists discover a brain signal that indicates whether speech has been understood

February 22, 2018
Neuroscientists from Trinity College Dublin and the University of Rochester have identified a specific brain signal associated with the conversion of speech into understanding. The signal is present when the listener has ...

A look at the space between mouse brain cells

February 22, 2018
Between the brain's neurons and glial cells is a critical but understudied structure that's been called neuroscience's final frontier: the extracellular space. With a new imaging paradigm, scientists can now see into and ...

Superagers' brains offer clues for sharp memory in old age

February 22, 2018
It's pretty extraordinary for people in their 80s and 90s to keep the same sharp memory as someone several decades younger, and now scientists are peeking into the brains of these "superagers" to uncover their secret.

Nolan film 'Memento' reveals how the brain remembers and interprets events from clues

February 22, 2018
Key repeating moments in the film give viewers the information they need to understand the storyline. The scenes cause identical reactions in the viewer's brain. The results deepen our understanding of how the brain functions, ...

Separate brain systems cooperate during learning, study finds

February 21, 2018
A new study by Brown University researchers shows that two different brain systems work cooperatively as people learn.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.