West Nile Virus Infection of the Placenta
Intrauterine infection of fetuses with West Nile virus (WNV) has been implicated in cases of women infected during pregnancy. Infection of timed-pregnant mice on 5.5, 7.5, and 9.5 days post-coitus (dpc) resulted in fetal infection. Infection of dams on 11.5 and 14.5 dpc resulted in little and no fetal infection, respectively. Pre-implantation embryos in culture were also infected with WNV after the blastocyst stage and the formation of trophectoderm. Green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression was observed in a trophoblast stem (TS) cell line after infection with a GFP-expressing WNV construct. However, no fluorescence was observed in differentiated trophoblast giant cell (TGC) cultures. GFP fluorescence was present in TGC cultures if infected TS cells were induced to differentiate. These results suggest that embryos are susceptible to WNV infection after the formation of the trophectoderm around 3.5 dpc through the formation of the functional placenta around 10.5 dpc.
Julander, J.G., Winger Q.A., Rickords L.F., Shi P.Y., Tilgner M., Binduga-Gajewska I., Sidwell R.W., Morrey J.D. 2006. West Nile virus infection of the placenta. Virology 347(1): 175-182.