Johns Hopkins researchers say that in early pregnancy in mice with complete immune systems, Zika virus can cross the placenta -- intended to protect the developing fetus -- and appears to lead to a high percentage of miscarriages and to babies born with thin brain tissue and inflammation in brain cells.
By administering Zika virus directly into the reproductive tract of pregnant mice that have an intact immune system, the researchers found that the Zika virus appears to create disorganization in the cellular layers of the placenta that keep toxins, bacteria and viruses from crossing. This disorganization could be how the virus penetrates the placenta to infect the fetus. The researchers also discovered a mechanism by which Zika may be keeping antiviral proteins in the body from doing their job of protecting cells from the virus.
These findings, published Feb. 21 in Nature Communications, put scientists one step closer to developing targets for vaccines or other treatments for Zik
Zika, Johns Hopkins, Health, Placenta, Virus, brain cells