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Daytona Beach


Human Factors and Behavioral Neurobiology

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A small percentage of babies born to Zika virus (ZIKV)-infected mothers' manifest severe defects at birth, including microcephaly. Among those who appeared healthy at birth, there are increasing reports of postnatal growth or developmental defects. However, the impact of congenital ZIKV infection in postnatal development is poorly understood. Here, we report that a mild congenital ZIKV-infection in pups born to immunocompetent pregnant mice did not display apparent defects at birth, but manifested postnatal growth impediments and neurobehavioral deficits, which include reduced locomotor and cognitive deficits that persisted into adulthood. We found that the brains of these pups were smaller, had a thinner cortical layer 1, displayed increased astrogliosis, decreased expression of microcephaly- and neuron development- related genes, and increased pathology as compared to mock-infected controls. In summary, our results showed that even a mild congenital ZIKV infection in immunocompetent mice could lead to postnatal deficits, providing definitive experimental evidence for a necessity to closely monitor postnatal growth and development of presumably healthy human infants, whose mothers were exposed to ZIKV infection during pregnancy.

Publication Title

Frontiers in Microbiology




Grant or Award Name

The University of Southern Mississippi Lucas Endowment for Faculty Excellence award and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health R15AI113706 (FB). NIH RO1EY09412, Merit Review Award I01BX007080 from the Biomedical Laboratory Research and Development Service of the Veterans Affairs Office of Research and Development, and Start-up Award from Research Mississippi, Incorporation.

Additional Information

Dr. Paul was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the time this paper was published.