Zika virus infection in immunocompetent pregnant mice causes fetal damage and placental pathology in the absence of fetal infection.
ABSTRACT: Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during human pregnancy may cause diverse and serious congenital defects in the developing fetus. Previous efforts to generate animal models of human ZIKV infection and clinical symptoms often involved manipulating mice to impair their Type I interferon (IFN) signaling, thereby allowing enhanced infection and vertical transmission of virus to the embryo. Here, we show that even pregnant mice competent to generate Type I IFN responses that can limit ZIKV infection nonetheless develop profound placental pathology and high frequency of fetal demise. We consistently found that maternal ZIKV exposure led to placental pathology and that ZIKV RNA levels measured in maternal, placental or embryonic tissues were not predictive of the pathological effects seen in the embryos. Placental pathology included trophoblast hyperplasia in the labyrinth, trophoblast giant cell necrosis in the junctional zone, and loss of embryonic vessels. Our findings suggest that, in this context of limited infection, placental pathology rather than embryonic/fetal viral infection may be a stronger contributor to adverse pregnancy outcomes in mice. Our finding demonstrates that in immunocompetent mice, direct viral infection of the embryo is not essential for fetal demise. Our immunologically unmanipulated pregnancy mouse model provides a consistent and easily measurable congenital abnormality readout to assess fetal outcome, and may serve as an additional model to test prophylactic and therapeutic interventions to protect the fetus during pregnancy, and for studying the mechanisms of ZIKV congenital immunopathogenesis.
Project description:Congenital Zika virus (ZIKV) infection impacts fetal development and pregnancy outcomes. We infected a pregnant rhesus macaque with a Puerto Rican ZIKV isolate in the first trimester. The pregnancy was complicated by preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), intraamniotic bacterial infection and fetal demise 49 days post infection (gestational day 95). Significant pathology at the maternal-fetal interface included acute chorioamnionitis, placental infarcts, and leukocytoclastic vasculitis of the myometrial radial arteries. ZIKV RNA was disseminated throughout fetal tissues and maternal immune system tissues at necropsy, as assessed by quantitative RT-PCR for viral RNA. Replicating ZIKV was identified in fetal tissues, maternal uterus, and maternal spleen by fluorescent in situ hybridization for viral replication intermediates. Fetal ocular pathology included a choroidal coloboma, suspected anterior segment dysgenesis, and a dysplastic retina. This is the first report of ocular pathology and prolonged viral replication in both maternal and fetal tissues following congenital ZIKV infection in a rhesus macaque. PPROM followed by fetal demise and severe pathology of the visual system have not been described in macaque congenital ZIKV infection previously. While this case of ZIKV infection during pregnancy was complicated by bacterial infection with PPROM, the role of ZIKV on this outcome cannot be precisely defined, and further nonhuman primate studies will determine if increased risk for PPROM or other adverse pregnancy outcomes are associated with congenital ZIKV infection.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during pregnancy in humans results in intrauterine growth restriction, spontaneous abortion, and microcephaly. Here, we found that fetus-derived type I interferon (IFN-I) signaling can enhance anti-ZIKV responses and provide clinical benefits to the fetus. Because IFN-? shares signaling cascades and antiviral functions with IFN-I, we investigated the in vivo effects of IFN-? in ZIKV-infected pregnant mice. IFN-? administration during mid-pregnancy reduced ZIKV burden in maternal and fetal organs and alleviated placental injuries and fetal demise. In addition, prophylactic and therapeutic treatment of IFN-?1 in a human trophoblast line, as well as in primary human amniotic epithelial cells, greatly reduced the ZIKV burden. Our data highlight IFN-?1 as a potential therapeutic useful for women at risk for congenital Zika disease.
Project description:Although Zika virus (ZIKV)-induced congenital disease occurs more frequently during early stages of pregnancy, its basis remains undefined. Using established type I interferon (IFN)-deficient mouse models of ZIKV transmission in utero, we found that the placenta and fetus were more susceptible to ZIKV infection at earlier gestational stages. Whereas ZIKV infection at embryonic day 6 (E6) resulted in placental insufficiency and fetal demise, infections at midstage (E9) resulted in reduced cranial dimensions, and infection later in pregnancy (E12) caused no apparent fetal disease. In addition, we found that fetuses lacking type III IFN-? signaling had increased ZIKV replication in the placenta and fetus when infected at E12, and reciprocally, treatment of pregnant mice with IFN-?2 reduced ZIKV infection. IFN-? treatment analogously diminished ZIKV infection in human midgestation fetal- and maternal-derived tissue explants. Our data establish a model of gestational stage dependence of ZIKV pathogenesis and IFN-?-mediated immunity at the maternal-fetal interface.
Project description:Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause congenital abnormities or fetal demise. The persistence of Zika virus in the male reproductive system poses a risk of sexual transmission. Here we demonstrate that live-attenuated Zika virus vaccine candidates containing deletions in the 3' untranslated region of the Zika virus genome (ZIKV-3'UTR-LAV) prevent viral transmission during pregnancy and testis damage in mice, as well as infection of nonhuman primates. After a single-dose vaccination, pregnant mice challenged with Zika virus at embryonic day 6 and evaluated at embryonic day 13 show markedly diminished levels of viral RNA in maternal, placental, and fetal tissues. Vaccinated male mice challenged with Zika virus were protected against testis infection, injury, and oligospermia. A single immunization of rhesus macaques elicited a rapid and robust antibody response, conferring complete protection upon challenge. Furthermore, the ZIKV-3'UTR-LAV vaccine candidates have a desirable safety profile. These results suggest that further development of ZIKV-3'UTR-LAV is warranted for humans.Zika virus infection can result in congenital disorders and cause disease in adults, and there is currently no approved vaccine. Here Shan et al. show that a single dose of a live-attenuated Zika vaccine prevents infection, testis damage and transmission to the fetus during pregnancy in different animal models.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) infection in pregnant women causes intrauterine growth restriction, spontaneous abortion, and microcephaly. Here, we describe two mouse models of placental and fetal disease associated with in utero transmission of ZIKV. Female mice lacking type I interferon signaling (Ifnar1(-/-)) crossed to wild-type (WT) males produced heterozygous fetuses resembling the immune status of human fetuses. Maternal inoculation at embryonic day 6.5 (E6.5) or E7.5 resulted in fetal demise that was associated with ZIKV infection of the placenta and fetal brain. We identified ZIKV within trophoblasts of the maternal and fetal placenta, consistent with a trans-placental infection route. Antibody blockade of Ifnar1 signaling in WT pregnant mice enhanced ZIKV trans-placental infection although it did not result in fetal death. These models will facilitate the study of ZIKV pathogenesis, in utero transmission, and testing of therapies and vaccines to prevent congenital malformations.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during pregnancy is associated with adverse fetal outcomes, including microcephaly, growth restriction, and fetal demise. Type I interferons (IFNs) are essential for host resistance against ZIKV, and IFN-?/? receptor (IFNAR)-deficient mice are highly susceptible to ZIKV infection. Severe fetal growth restriction with placental damage and fetal resorption is observed after ZIKV infection of type I IFN receptor knockout (Ifnar1-/-) dams mated with wild-type sires, resulting in fetuses with functional type I IFN signaling. The role of type I IFNs in limiting or mediating ZIKV disease within this congenital infection model remains unknown. In this study, we challenged Ifnar1-/- dams mated with Ifnar1+/- sires with ZIKV. This breeding scheme enabled us to examine pregnant dams that carry a mixture of fetuses that express (Ifnar1+/-) or do not express IFNAR (Ifnar1-/-) within the same uterus. Virus replicated to a higher titer in the placenta of Ifnar1-/- than within the Ifnar1+/- concepti. Yet, rather unexpectedly, we found that only Ifnar1+/- fetuses were resorbed after ZIKV infection during early pregnancy, whereas their Ifnar1-/- littermates continue to develop. Analyses of the fetus and placenta revealed that, after ZIKV infection, IFNAR signaling in the conceptus inhibits development of the placental labyrinth, resulting in abnormal architecture of the maternal-fetal barrier. Exposure of midgestation human chorionic villous explants to type I IFN, but not type III IFNs, altered placental morphology and induced cytoskeletal rearrangements within the villous core. Our results implicate type I IFNs as a possible mediator of pregnancy complications, including spontaneous abortions and growth restriction, in the context of congenital viral infections.
Project description:During mammalian pregnancy, the placenta acts as a barrier between the maternal and fetal compartments. The recently observed association between Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during human pregnancy and fetal microcephaly and other anomalies suggests that ZIKV may bypass the placenta to reach the fetus. This led us to investigate ZIKV infection of primary human trophoblasts (PHTs), which are the barrier cells of the placenta. We discovered that PHT cells from full-term placentas are refractory to ZIKV infection. In addition, medium from uninfected PHT cells protects non-placental cells from ZIKV infection. PHT cells constitutively release the type III interferon (IFN) IFN?1, which functions in both a paracrine and autocrine manner to protect trophoblast and non-trophoblast cells from ZIKV infection. Our data suggest that for ZIKV to access the fetal compartment, it must evade restriction by trophoblast-derived IFN?1 and other trophoblast-specific antiviral factors and/or use alternative strategies to cross the placental barrier.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during pregnancy leads to an increased risk of fetal growth restriction and fetal central nervous system malformations, which are outcomes broadly referred to as the Congenital Zika Syndrome (CZS). Here we infect pregnant rhesus macaques and investigate the impact of persistent ZIKV infection on uteroplacental pathology, blood flow, and fetal growth and development. Despite seemingly normal fetal growth and persistent fetal-placenta-maternal infection, advanced non-invasive in vivo imaging studies reveal dramatic effects on placental oxygen reserve accompanied by significantly decreased oxygen permeability of the placental villi. The observation of abnormal oxygen transport within the placenta appears to be a consequence of uterine vasculitis and placental villous damage in ZIKV cases. In addition, we demonstrate a robust maternal-placental-fetal inflammatory response following ZIKV infection. This animal model reveals a potential relationship between ZIKV infection and uteroplacental pathology that appears to affect oxygen delivery to the fetus during development.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) crosses the placenta and causes congenital disease. Here we develop an animal model utilizing direct ZIKV inoculation into the uterine wall of pregnant, immunocompetent mice to evaluate transplacental transmission. Intrauterine inoculation at embryonic day (E) 10, but not E14, with African, Asian or American strains of ZIKV reduces fetal viability and increases infection of placental and fetal tissues. ZIKV inoculation at E10 causes placental inflammation, placental dysfunction and reduces neonatal brain cortical thickness, which is associated with increased activation of microglia. Viral antigen localizes in trophoblast and endothelial cells in the placenta, and endothelial, microglial and neural progenitor cells in the fetal brain. ZIKV infection of the placenta increases production of IFN? and expression of IFN-stimulated genes 48?h after infection. This mouse model provides a platform for identifying factors at the maternal-fetal interface that contribute to adverse perinatal outcomes in a host with an intact immune system.
Project description:Background:Infection with Zika virus (ZIKV) during pregnancy is known to cause birth defects and could also be linked to pregnancy loss. Case:A pregnant woman in Puerto Rico contracted ZIKV at 16 weeks gestation. ZIKV RNA persisted in serum from her initial test at 16 weeks through 24 weeks gestation, when fetal demise occurred, and was detected in placental tissue. Conclusion:Prolonged detection of ZIKV RNA in maternal serum was associated with ZIKV RNA detection in the placenta of a patient who experienced fetal demise. While detection of placenta ZIKV RNA does not establish that ZIKV conclusively caused the demise, these findings support emerging evidence that the placenta may serve as a reservoir for ZIKV, which may be associated with prolonged detection of ZIKV RNA in serum.