Zika virus impairs growth in human neurospheres and brain organoids

Science. 2016 May 13;352(6287):816-8. doi: 10.1126/science.aaf6116. Epub 2016 Apr 10.


Since the emergence of Zika virus (ZIKV), reports of microcephaly have increased considerably in Brazil; however, causality between the viral epidemic and malformations in fetal brains needs further confirmation. We examined the effects of ZIKV infection in human neural stem cells growing as neurospheres and brain organoids. Using immunocytochemistry and electron microscopy, we showed that ZIKV targets human brain cells, reducing their viability and growth as neurospheres and brain organoids. These results suggest that ZIKV abrogates neurogenesis during human brain development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / abnormalities*
  • Brain / virology*
  • Brazil
  • Cell Death
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Microcephaly / pathology
  • Microcephaly / virology*
  • Neural Stem Cells / pathology
  • Neural Stem Cells / virology*
  • Neurogenesis*
  • Organoids / abnormalities
  • Organoids / virology
  • Zika Virus / pathogenicity*
  • Zika Virus Infection / complications*
  • Zika Virus Infection / pathology