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Zika Infections Reduces the Ability to Smell

March 22, 2023 • 2:07 pm CDT
from Pixabay
(Zika News)

A recent article published by eBioMedicine discussed how the Zika virus leads to olfactory disorders in mice by targeting olfactory ensheathing cells.

On February 3, 2023, this article confirmed Zika virus (ZIKV) is an emerging arbovirus of the genus flavivirus associated with congenital Zika syndrome (CZS) in newborns.

Clinical symptoms, including intellectual disability, speech delay, coordination or movement problems, and hearing and vision loss, have been well-documented in children with CZS.

However, whether ZIKV can invade the olfactory system (ability to detect odors) and lead to post-viral olfactory dysfunction (PVOD) remains unknown.

These researchers demonstrated that neonatal mice infected with ZIKV suffer transient olfactory dysfunction when they reach puberty.

Moreover, ZIKV mainly targets olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) and exhibits broad cellular tropism colocalizing with small populations of mature/immature olfactory sensory neurons (mOSNs/iOSNs), sustentacular cells and horizontal basal cells in the olfactory mucosa (OM) of immunodeficient AG6 mice.

ZIKV infection induces strong antiviral immune responses in the olfactory mucosa and olfactory bulb tissues, resulting in the upregulation of proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines and genes related to the antiviral response. 

'Our results demonstrate that the olfactory system represents a significant target for ZIKV infection and that PVOD may be neglected in CZS patients,' concluded these researchers.

The authors declared that they have no conflict of interest.