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Cytotrophoblasts Aid in Zika Transmission from Mother-to-Fetus

FEB 28, 2017 | KRISTI ROSA
Dr. Pereira summarized that through the analysis of 355 villus explant villi that were infected with the Ugandan porotype strain and the Nicaraguan strain, they were able to “determine that the sites of infection [most vulnerable to Zika infection ex vivo] are reproducibly in proximal cell columns.” In fact, around 20% of the villi had proximal cell columns and 50% of the villi had invasive cytotrophoblasts. They also found that Hofbauer cells were also infected, and that 25% of them were in the villi. Thus, their findings suggest that “the maternal virus infects the placenta in the intervillous blood space and undermine development in early gestation.”

In an exclusive interview with Contagion® Dr. Pereira explained another potential route of transmission. She said, “Of course, the third possibility, which we didn’t mention in our paper was the possibility that the virus could come from the sexual route, and, again, cross the fetal membranes, because they then about the access from the vagina– which of course there’s a plug in-between, but still virus might get through. The possibility then, is crossing from the maternal bloodstream, either in the first trimester from the basal decidua, or, at late-gestation through the parietal decidua to the fetal compartment.”
Dr. Pereira concluded, “What I do is show you the model that we now refined to limit the cells of infection is the mitotic cytotrophoblasts which also can infect the Hofbauer cells and pass the virus into the villus core, basically the bloodstream of the baby.”

First International Conference on Zika Virus

Session 3: Virology
Zika Virus Infects Cytotrophoblasts and Hofbauer Cells in Chorionic Villi From First-Trimester Human Placentas and Downregulates Cellular Markers
Exclusive interview with Contagion®
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