Nutritional supplements decrease child mortality
The link between Zika virus infection and the CZS has been demonstrated in previous studies, which helped researchers understand how the infection affected brain growth and development of blood vessels. These showed that ZIKV infects the cells that develop into the brain and alter genes and proteins related to the normal cell cycle and blood vessel development.
The current study also used a mouse model to replicate the effects of Zika infection in mice that had a low-protein diet, and found that several of the pathological signs found in humans appeared in the undernourished mice in a similar way.
Professor Molnár added:
When we replicated the effects seen in humans who had poor diets in mice we saw similar effects in the fetuses, such as placental damage as well as poor embryonic body growth and a reduction in brain size of newborns born to undernourished pregnant mouse.
The mouse mothers were clearly less able to fight against ZIKV, which was shown by a robust and persistent ZIKV infection in the spleens of undernourished mothers, in contrast to healthy mice. Our undernourished mouse model helped us to identify the cellular mechanisms that are responsible for the differences in humans.
Improving diet alone will not protect against ZIKV infections, but it can determine the severity of the CZS.
While we need more work to translate these findings to human disease, our mouse model helped us to identify significant differences in the regulation patterns of key molecular pathways, and particular genes identified within developing brains reflect how a poor nutritional status increases the adverse effects of ZIKV infection." Source:
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