MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Slobodan Paessler, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Pathology;
Director, Galveston National Laboratory Preclinical Studies Core;
Director, Animal Biosafety Level 3, Institute for Human Infections and Immunity;
Member, Center for Biodefense & Emerging Infectious Diseases
University of Texas Medical Branch
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Zika virus infection is associated with various developmental issues for human embryos such as reduced head growth, reduced brain tissue growth, and damage to brain or eyes. We wanted to better understand if some of these birth defects are caused directly by the Zika virus or maybe by the host response to infection.
In our study we demonstrate that the Zika virus infection induces autoimmune response against the C1q protein. This protein is a very important immune protein as well as one of the essential proteins for healthy brain development. Attacking the C1q protein upon exposure with the Zika virus could contribute to the development of autoimmune disorders and birth defects.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Zika virus infection may have a short- and a long-term impact on individuals. If the Zika virus elicits high-levels of autoantibodies against C1q in humans, as it does in animal models, it could impact not only the development of birth defects in babies but also development of various autoimmune diseases. Namely, auto-antibodies to C1q have been frequently detected in patients with autoimmune diseases, for example, hypocomplementemic urticarial vasculitis (100%), Felty’s syndrome (76%), Lupus nephritis (63%) and systemic Lupus erythematosus (SLE) (33%).
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: We must measure anti-C1q antibodies in human patients to confirm our findings from experimental models and ensure that if we generate vaccines in the future that these are safe for vaccines.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: The computation platform was developed by BiomedProtection, LLC, Galveston, and I am a co-founder.
Zika virus infection elicits auto-antibodies to C1q
Takaaki Koma, Veljko Veljkovic, Danielle E. Anderson, Lin-Fa Wang, Shannan L. Rossi, Chao Shan, Pei-Yong Shi, David W. Beasley, Natalya Bukreyeva, Jeanon N. Smith, Steven Hallam, Cheng Huang, Veronika von Messling & Slobodan Paessler
Scientific Reports volume 8, Article number: 1882(2018)
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