Journal of NeuroVirology
Springer International Publishing
Zika virus (ZIKV) has received widespread attention because of its effect on the developing fetus. It is becoming apparent, however, that severe neurological sequelae, such as Guillian-Barrë syndrome (GBS), myelitis, encephalitis, and seizures can occur after infection of adults. This study demonstrates that a contemporary strain of ZIKV can widely infect astrocytes and neurons in the brain and spinal cord of adult, interferon α/β receptor knockout mice (AG129 strain) and cause progressive hindlimb paralysis, as well as severe seizure-like activity during the acute phase of disease. The severity of hindlimb motor deficits correlated with increased numbers of ZIKV-infected lumbosacral spinal motor neurons and decreased numbers of spinal motor neurons. Electrophysiological compound muscle action potential (CMAP) amplitudes in response to stimulation of the lumbosacral spinal cord were reduced when obvious motor deficits were present. ZIKV immunoreactivity was high, intense, and obvious in tissue sections of the brain and spinal cord. Infection in the brain and spinal cord was also associated with astrogliosis as well as T cell and neutrophil infiltration. CMAP and histological analysis indicated that peripheral nerve and muscle functions were intact. Consequently, motor deficits in these circumstances appear to be primarily due to myelitis and possibly encephalitis as opposed to a peripheral neuropathy or a GBS-like syndrome. Thus, acute ZIKV infection of adult AG129 mice may be a useful model for ZIKV-induced myelitis, encephalitis, and seizure activity.
Zukor, Katherine; Wang, Hong; Siddharthan, Venkatraman; Julander, Justin G.; and Morrey, John D., "Zika Virus-induced Acute Myelitis and Motor Deficits in Adult Interferon αβ/γ Receptor Knockout Mice" (2018). Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Science Faculty Publications. Paper 1315.