Zika Infection During Pregnancy Can Affect a Baby's Brain
In some cases, a Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during pregnancy leads to a series of severe defects in the fetus collectively known as congenital Zika syndrome (CZS), which includes microcephaly, defective neuronal migration, and impaired cortical development. These researchers from Brazil compared brain tissue from babies who died from CZS with tissue samples from babies that died from other causes.
A study published on June 9, 2020, by Aguiar et al. combined genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic analyses of blood and postmortem brains and demonstrated that ZIKV-infected neonates showed a reduction in collagen expression and an increase in adhesion factor expression, alterations in the extracellular matrix consistent with the brain defects seen in CZS. Together, these datasets form a useful resource for those investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying CZS in humans.
'The Zika outbreak began in 2015, and only now do we have these results. Scientific research cannot be performed overnight. I know everyone wants answers quickly, but the fact is that if you speed up the process artificially, you risk getting bad science," said these researchers in a press statement on September 3, 2020.