Zika virus (ZIKV)-related neuropathology is an important global health concern. Several studies have shown that ZIKV can infect neural stem cells in the developing brain, but infection in the adult brain has not been examined. Two areas in the adult mouse brain contain neural stem cells: the subventricular zone of the anterior forebrain and the subgranular zone of the hippocampus. Here, using 6-week-old mice triply deficient in interferon regulatory factor (IRF) as a model, we show that blood-borne ZIKV administration can lead to pronounced evidence of ZIKV infection in these adult neural stem cells, leading to cell death and reduced proliferation. Our data therefore suggest that adult as well as fetal neural stem cells are vulnerable to ZIKV neuropathology. Thus, although ZIKV is considered a transient infection in adult humans without marked long-term effects, there may in fact be consequences of exposure in the adult brain.
Keywords: Zika virus; adult neurogenesis; interferon; neural progenitor cells.
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