Zika Virus Infection in Pregnancy: Advanced Diagnostic Approaches in Dengue-Naive and Dengue-Experienced Pregnant Women and Possible Implication for Cross-Reactivity and Cross-Protection.
ABSTRACT: Zika virus (ZIKV) infection has been linked to congenital defects in fetuses and infants, as exemplified by the microcephaly epidemic in Brazil. Given the overlapping presence of Dengue virus (DENV) in the majority of ZIKV epidemic regions, advanced diagnostic approaches need to be evaluated to establish the role of pre-existing DENV immunity in ZIKV infection. From 2015 to 2017, five pregnant women with suspected ZIKV infection were investigated in Pavia, Italy. Among the five pregnant women, three were DENV-ZIKV immunologically cross-reactive, and two were DENV-naïve. Advanced diagnosis included the following: (i) NS1 blockade-of-binding (BOB) ELISA assay for ZIKV specific antibodies and (ii) ELISpot assay for the quantification of effector memory T cells for DENV and ZIKV. These novel assays allowed to distinguish between related flavivirus infections. The three DENV-experienced mothers did not transmit ZIKV to the fetus, while the two DENV-naive mothers transmitted ZIKV to the fetus. Pre-existing immunity in DENV experienced mothers might play a role in cross-protection.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) serological diagnostics are compromised in areas where dengue viruses (DENV) co-circulate because of their high levels of protein sequence homology. Here, we describe the characterization of a Zika blockade-of-binding ELISA (Zika BOB) and a Zika microneutralization assay (Zika MN) for the detection of ZIKV nonstructural protein 1 (NS1)-specific antibodies and ZIKV neutralizing antibodies, respectively. Zika BOB and Zika MN cutoffs were established as 10 and 100 endpoint titers, respectively, using samples collected pre- and post-virologically confirmed ZIKV infection from subjects living in DENV-endemic areas. Specificity of the assays was equally high, whereas sensitivity of Zika BOB was lower than that of Zika MN, especially in samples collected > 6 months post-infection. Immunosurveillance analysis, using combined results from both Zika BOB and Zika MN, carried out also in DENV-endemic regions in Colombia, Honduras, Mexico, and Puerto Rico before (2013-2014) and after (2017-2018) ZIKV introduction in the Americas suggests unapparent ZIKV seroprevalence rates ranged from 25% to 80% over the specified period of time in the regions investigated.
Project description:As Zika virus (ZIKV) emerges into Dengue virus (DENV)-endemic areas, cases of ZIKV infection in DENV-immune pregnant women may rise. Here we show that prior DENV immunity affects maternal and fetal ZIKV infection in pregnancy using sequential DENV and ZIKV infection models. Fetuses in ZIKV-infected DENV-immune dams were normal sized, whereas fetal demise occurred in non-immune dams. Moreover, reduced ZIKV RNA is present in the placenta and fetuses of ZIKV-infected DENV-immune dams. DENV cross-reactive CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells expand in the maternal spleen and decidua of ZIKV-infected dams, their depletion increases ZIKV infection in the placenta and fetus, and results in fetal demise. The inducement of cross-reactive CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells via peptide immunization or adoptive transfer results in decreased ZIKV infection in the placenta. Prior DENV immunity can protect against ZIKV infection during pregnancy in mice, and CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells are sufficient for this cross-protection. This has implications for understanding the natural history of ZIKV in DENV-endemic areas and the development of optimal ZIKV vaccines.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) is a newly-identified infectious cause of congenital disease. Transplacental transfer of maternal IgG to the fetus plays an important role in preventing many neonatal infections. However, antibody transfer may also have negative consequences, such as mediating enhancement of flavivirus infections in early life, or trafficking of virus immune complexes to the fetal compartment. ZIKV infection produces placental pathology which could lead to impaired IgG transfer efficiency as occurs in other maternal infections, such as HIV-1 and malaria. In this study, we asked whether ZIKV infection during pregnancy impairs transplacental transfer of IgG. We enrolled pregnant women with fever or rash in a prospective cohort in Vitoria, Brazil during the recent ZIKV epidemic. ZIKV and dengue virus (DENV)-specific IgG, ZIKV and DENV neutralizing antibodies, and routine vaccine antigen-specific IgG were measured in maternal samples collected around delivery and 20 paired cord blood samples. We concluded that 8 of these mothers were infected with ZIKV during pregnancy and 12 were ZIKV-uninfected. The magnitude of flavivirus-specific IgG, neutralizing antibody, and vaccine-elicited IgG were highly correlated between maternal plasma and infant cord blood in both ZIKV-infected and -uninfected mother-infant pairs. Moreover, there was no difference in the magnitude of plasma flavivirus-specific IgG levels between mothers and infants regardless of ZIKV infection status. Our data suggests that maternal ZIKV infection during pregnancy does not impair the efficiency of placental transfer of flavivirus-specific, functional, and vaccine-elicited IgG. These findings have implications for the neonatal outomes of maternal ZIKV infection and optimal administration of antibody-based ZIKV vaccines and therapeutics.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV), an emergent flaviviral pathogen, has been linked to microcephaly in neonates. Although the risk is greatest during the first trimester of pregnancy in humans, timing alone cannot explain why maternal ZIKV infection leads to severe microcephaly in some fetuses, but not others. The antigenic similarities between ZIKV and dengue virus (DENV), combined with high levels of DENV immunity among ZIKV target populations in recent outbreaks, suggest that anti-DENV maternal antibodies could promote ZIKV-induced microcephaly. We demonstrated maternal-to-fetal ZIKV transmission, fetal infection, and disproportionate microcephaly in immunocompetent mice. We show that DENV-specific antibodies in ZIKV-infected pregnant mice enhance vertical ZIKV transmission and result in a severe microcephaly-like syndrome, which was dependent on the neonatal Fc receptor, FcRN. This novel immune-mediated mechanism of vertical transmission of viral infection is of special concern because ZIKV epidemic regions are also endemic to DENV.
Project description:The Zika virus (ZIKV) epidemic has resulted in congenital abnormalities in fetuses and neonates. Although some cross-reactive dengue virus (DENV)-specific antibodies can enhance ZIKV infection in mice, those recognizing the DENV E-dimer epitope (EDE) can neutralize ZIKV infection in cell culture. We evaluated the therapeutic activity of human monoclonal antibodies to DENV EDE for their ability to control ZIKV infection in the brains, testes, placentas, and fetuses of mice. A single dose of the EDE1-B10 antibody given 3 d after ZIKV infection protected against lethality, reduced ZIKV levels in brains and testes, and preserved sperm counts. In pregnant mice, wild-type or engineered LALA variants of EDE1-B10, which cannot engage Fcg receptors, diminished ZIKV burden in maternal and fetal tissues, and protected against fetal demise. Because neutralizing antibodies to EDE have therapeutic potential against ZIKV, in addition to their established inhibitory effects against DENV, it may be possible to develop therapies that control disease caused by both viruses.
Project description:Laboratory confirmation of Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during pregnancy is challenging due to cross-reactivity with dengue virus (DENV) and limited knowledge about the kinetics of anti-Zika antibody responses during pregnancy. We described ZIKV and DENV serological markers and the maternal-fetal transfer of antibodies among mothers and neonates after the ZIKV microcephaly outbreak in Northeast Brazil (2016). We included 89 microcephaly cases and 173 neonate controls at time of birth and their mothers. Microcephaly cases were defined as newborns with a particular head circumference (2 SD below the mean). Two controls without microcephaly were matched by the expected date of delivery and area of residence. We tested maternal serum for recent (ZIKV genome, IgM and IgG3 anti-NS1) and previous (ZIKV and DENV neutralizing antibodies [NAbs]) markers of infection. Multiple markers of recent or previous ZIKV and DENV infection in mothers were analyzed using principal component analysis (PCA). At delivery, 5.6% of microcephaly case mothers and 1.7% of control mothers were positive for ZIKV IgM. Positivity for ZIKV IgG3 anti-NS1 was 8.0% for case mothers and 3.5% for control mothers. ZIKV NAbs was slightly higher among mothers of cases (69.6%) than that of mothers of controls (57.2%; p = 0.054). DENV exposure was detected in 85.8% of all mothers. PCA discriminated two distinct components related to recent or previous ZIKV infection and DENV exposure. ZIKV NAbs were higher in newborns than in their corresponding mothers (p<0.001). We detected a high frequency of ZIKV exposure among mothers after the first wave of the ZIKV outbreak in Northeast Brazil. However, we found low sensitivity of the serological markers to recent infection (IgM and IgG3 anti-NS1) in perinatal samples of mothers of microcephaly cases. Since the neutralization test cannot precisely determine the time of infection, testing for ZIKV immune status should be performed as early as possible and throughout pregnancy to monitor acute Zika infection in endemic areas.
Project description:Antibody (Ab)-dependent enhancement can exacerbate dengue virus (DENV) infection due to cross-reactive Abs from an initial DENV infection, facilitating replication of a second DENV. Zika virus (ZIKV) emerged in DENV-endemic areas, raising questions about whether existing immunity could affect these related flaviviruses. We show that mice born with circulating maternal Abs against ZIKV develop severe disease upon DENV infection. Compared with pups of naive mothers, those born to ZIKV-immune mice lacking type I interferon receptor in myeloid cells (LysMCre+Ifnar1fl/fl) exhibit heightened disease and viremia upon DENV infection. Passive transfer of IgG isolated from mice born to ZIKV-immune mothers resulted in increased viremia in naive recipient mice. Treatment with Abs blocking inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor linked to DENV disease or Abs blocking DENV entry improved survival of DENV-infected mice born to ZIKV-immune mothers. Thus, the maternal Ab response to ZIKV infection or vaccination might predispose to severe dengue disease in infants.
Project description:UNLABELLED:Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus responsible for thousands of cases of severe fetal malformations and neurological disease since its introduction to Brazil in 2013. Antibodies to flaviviruses can be protective, resulting in lifelong immunity to reinfection by homologous virus. However, cross-reactive antibodies can complicate flavivirus diagnostics and promote more severe disease, as noted after serial dengue virus (DENV) infections. The endemic circulation of DENV in South America and elsewhere raises concerns that preexisting flavivirus immunity may modulate ZIKV disease and transmission potential. Here, we report on the ability of human monoclonal antibodies and immune sera derived from dengue patients to neutralize contemporary epidemic ZIKV strains. We demonstrate that a class of human monoclonal antibodies isolated from DENV patients neutralizes ZIKV in cell culture and is protective in a lethal murine model. We also tested a large panel of convalescent-phase immune sera from humans exposed to primary and repeat DENV infection. Although ZIKV is most closely related to DENV compared to other human-pathogenic flaviviruses, most DENV immune sera (73%) failed to neutralize ZIKV, while others had low (50% effective concentration [EC50], <1:100 serum dilution; 18%) or moderate to high (EC50, >1:100 serum dilution; 9%) levels of cross-neutralizing antibodies. Our results establish that ZIKV and DENV share epitopes that are targeted by neutralizing, protective human antibodies. The availability of potently neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies provides an immunotherapeutic approach to control life-threatening ZIKV infection and also points to the possibility of repurposing DENV vaccines to induce cross-protective immunity to ZIKV. IMPORTANCE:ZIKV is an emerging arbovirus that has been associated with severe neurological birth defects and fetal loss in pregnant women and Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults. Currently, there is no vaccine or therapeutic for ZIKV. The identification of a class of antibodies (envelope dimer epitope 1 [EDE1]) that potently neutralizes ZIKV in addition to all four DENV serotypes points to a potential immunotherapeutic to combat ZIKV. This is especially salient given the precedent of antibody therapy to treat pregnant women infected with other viruses associated with microcephaly, such as cytomegalovirus and rubella virus. Furthermore, the identification of a functionally conserved epitope between ZIKV and DENV raises the possibility that a vaccine may be able to elicit neutralizing antibodies against both viruses.
Project description:It has come to light that Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during pregnancy can result in trans-placental transmission to the fetus along with fetal death, congenital microcephaly, and/or Central Nervous System (CNS) malformations. There are projected to be >9,200,000 births annually in countries with ongoing ZIKV transmission. In response to the ZIKV threat, the World Health Organization (WHO) is strategically targeting prevention of infection in pregnant women and funding contraception in epidemic regions. I propose that the damaging effects of ZIKV can be reduced using a seasonal window of opportunity for conception that may minimize maternal exposure. Like other acute viral infections-including the related flavivirus, dengue virus (DENV)-the transmission of ZIKV is anticipated to be seasonal. By seasonally planning pregnancy, this aspect of pathogen ecology can be leveraged to align sensitive periods of gestation with the low-transmission season.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) and dengue virus (DENV) are closely related flaviviruses that cause widespread, acute febrile illnesses, notably microcephaly for fetuses of infected pregnant women. Detecting the viral cause of these illnesses is paramount to determine risks to patients, counsel pregnant women, and help fight outbreaks. A combined diagnostic algorithm for ZIKV and DENV requires Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and IgM antibody detection. RT-PCR differentiates between DENV and ZIKV infections during the acute phases of infection, but differentiation based on IgM antibodies is currently nearly impossible in endemic areas. We have developed a ZIKV/DENV protein array and tested it with serum samples collected from ZIKV- and DENV-infected patients and healthy subjects in Puerto Rico. Our analyses reveal a biomarker panel that are capable of discriminating ZIKV and DENV infections with high accuracy, including Capsid protein from African ZIKV strain MR766, and other 5 pair of proteins (NS1, NS2A, NS3, NS4B and NS5) from ZIKV and DENV respectively. Both sensitivity and specificity of the test for ZIKV from DENV are around 90%. We propose that the ZIKV/DENV protein array will be used in future studies to discriminate patients infected with ZIKV from DENV.