Human Genetics Contributes To Zika-Induced Brain Damage

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ping Wu, MD, PhD John S. Dunn Distinguished Chair in Neurological Recovery Professor, Department of Neuroscience & Cell Biology University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston, TX 77555-0620

Dr. Ping Wu

Ping Wu, MD, PhD
John S. Dunn Distinguished Chair in Neurological Recovery
Professor, Department of Neuroscience & Cell Biology
University of Texas Medical Branch
Galveston, TX 77555-0620

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Zika viral infection poses a major global public health threat, evidenced by recent outbreaks in America with many cases of microcephaly in newborns and other neurological impairments. A critical knowledge gap in our understanding is the role of host determinants of Zika-mediated fetal malformation. For example, not all infants born to Zika-infected women develop microcephaly, and there is a wide range of Zika-induced brain damage. To begin to fill the gap, we infected brain stem cells that were derived from three human donors, and found that only two of them exhibited severer deficits in nerve cell production along with aberrant alterations in gene expression.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our study indicates that human genetic makeup may be a determinant for the severity of Zika-induced brain damage.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Further studies are needed to identity what genes contribute to the human differences after Zika infection.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: It is known that not all Zika virus strains cause microcephaly. Our study now shows that brain cells from different human individuals can respond to the same Zika virus strain differently. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of human and viral determinants in response to Zika injection will provide important insights into new strategies to minimize ZIKV-mediated fetal brain malformations. 

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Stem Cell Reports:

Differential Responses of Human Fetal Brain Neural Stem Cells to Zika Virus Infection

Erica L. McGrath10,Shannan L. Rossi10,Junling Gao10,Steven G. Widen,Auston C. Grant,Tiffany J. Dunn,Sasha R. Azar, Christopher M. Roundy,Ying Xiong,Deborah J. Prusak,Bradford D. Loucas,Thomas G. Wood,Yongjia Yu,Ildefonso Fernández-Salas,Scott C. Weaver,Nikos Vasilakis ,Ping Wu 10Co-first author
Published Online: February 16, 2017

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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