Maternal-Fetal Interplay in Zika Virus Infection and Adverse Perinatal Outcomes.
ABSTRACT: During pregnancy, the organization of complex tolerance mechanisms occurs to assure non-rejection of the semiallogeneic fetus. Pregnancy is a period of vulnerability to some viral infections, mainly during the first and second trimesters, that may cause congenital damage to the fetus. Recently, Zika virus (ZIKV) infection has gained great notoriety due to the occurrence of congenital ZIKV syndrome, characterized by fetal microcephaly, which results from the ability of ZIKV to infect placental cells and neural precursors in the fetus. Importantly, in addition to the congenital effects, studies have shown that perinatal ZIKV infection causes a number of disorders, including maculopapular rash, conjunctivitis, and arthralgia. In this paper, we contextualize the immunological aspects involved in the maternal-fetal interface and vulnerability to ZIKV infection, especially the alterations resulting in perinatal outcomes. This highlights the need to develop protective maternal vaccine strategies or interventions that are capable of preventing fetal or even neonatal infection.
Project description: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: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 (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: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:Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during pregnancy causes significant adverse sequelae in the developing fetus, and results in long-term structural and neurologic defects. Most preventive and therapeutic efforts have focused on the development of vaccines, antivirals, and antibodies. The placental immunologic response to ZIKV, however, has been largely overlooked as a target for therapeutic intervention. The placental inflammatory response, specifically IL-1β secretion and signaling, is induced by ZIKV infection and represents an environmental factor that is known to increase the risk of perinatal developmental abnormalities. We show in a mouse model that maternally administrated IL-1 receptor antagonist (IRA; Kineret, or anakinra), following ZIKV exposure, can preserve placental function (by improving trophoblast invasion and placental vasculature), increase fetal viability, and reduce neurobehavioral deficits in the offspring. We further demonstrate that while ZIKV RNA is highly detectable in placentas, it is not correlated with fetal viability. Beyond its effects in the placenta, we show that IL-1 blockade may also directly decrease fetal neuroinflammation by mitigating fetal microglial activation in a dose-dependent manner. Our studies distinguish the role of placental inflammation during ZIKV-infected pregnancies, and demonstrate that maternal IRA may attenuate fetal neuroinflammation and improve perinatal outcomes.
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:Infection with Zika virus (ZIKV) is associated with human congenital fetal anomalies. To model fetal outcomes in nonhuman primates, we administered Asian-lineage ZIKV subcutaneously to four pregnant rhesus macaques. While non-pregnant animals in a previous study contemporary with the current report clear viremia within 10-12 days, maternal viremia was prolonged in 3 of 4 pregnancies. Fetal head growth velocity in the last month of gestation determined by ultrasound assessment of head circumference was decreased in comparison with biparietal diameter and femur length within each fetus, both within normal range. ZIKV RNA was detected in tissues from all four fetuses at term cesarean section. In all pregnancies, neutrophilic infiltration was present at the maternal-fetal interface (decidua, placenta, fetal membranes), in various fetal tissues, and in fetal retina, choroid, and optic nerve (first trimester infection only). Consistent vertical transmission in this primate model may provide a platform to assess risk factors and test therapeutic interventions for interruption of fetal infection. The results may also suggest that maternal-fetal ZIKV transmission in human pregnancy may be more frequent than currently appreciated.
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 has been causally linked to a constellation of neurodevelopmental deformities in the fetus resulting in a disease termed congenital Zika syndrome (CZS). Here we detail how ZIKV infection produces extensive neuropathology in the developing mouse brain and spinal cord of both sexes. Surprisingly, neuropathology differs depending on viral strain with a French Polynesian isolate producing primarily excitotoxicity and a Brazilian isolate being almost exclusively apoptotic but occurring over a prolonged period that is more likely to produce severe hypoplasia. We also show exposure can produce a characteristic pattern of infection that mirrors neuropathology and ultimately results in gross morphological deformities strikingly similar to CZS. This research provides a valuable mouse model mirroring the clinical course of disease that can be used to test potential therapies to improve treatment and gain a better understanding of the disabilities associated with CZS.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during pregnancy has been causally linked to a constellation of neurodevelopmental deformities in the fetus resulting in a disease termed congenital Zika syndrome. Despite its devastating effects, very little is known about how ZIKV infection produces fetal neuropathology. Here we detail the temporal progression of ZIKV infection in the mouse brain and spinal cord resulting in massive neurodegeneration of infected regions. We also report a ZIKV strain from a region of Brazil with high levels of microcephaly (abnormally small head circumference) produces particularly devastating neuropathology.
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.