An Inhibitor reduces the effects of Zika virus in Brain Organoid

An investigation on zika has shown that it modifies the function of the molecule and causes a TLR3 cell 'suicide' in the brain. The experiment conducted in laboratory brains, seeks to reduce the aggressiveness of infection, resulting in microcephaly fetuses, using an inhibitor. Early results indicate that cells infected by the virus decreased by 16% in five days.

US – Since the first cases of infection were detected by zika in pregnant mothers, many studies have tried to show how the virus is able to kill zika related to the development of babies’ brain cells.  Now, American pediatricians have tried in-woven brain organelles created from stem cells that mimic a brain really a new method to curb the aggressiveness of the virus using an inhibitor. The study results have been published in the latest issue of the journal Cell Stem Cell.

“We all have an innate immune system that fights viruses, but Zika use it against us,” said Tariq Rana, lead author of the study   and professor of pediatrics at the University of California San Diego.

Zika contributes to self-destruction of cells during the formation of the brain because it deceives the molecules TLR3 -specially commissioned to protect the body from invaders germs and makes orders virus. This anomaly cause of microcephaly in babies of women affected. “The good news is that we have inhibitors that could prevent this from happening,” says the pediatrician.

In order to determine whether the use of inhibitors can block the effects of the virus on TLR3, Rana team tried some of the infected 3D micro-brain created in vitro organelles. The results show that, five days after infection, the infected elements zika size had decreased by 16%.  “We use a chemical to enhance the reactivation of TLR3 and found that brain tissue began to shrink much faster,” said Tariq Rana.

Previous work on zika infected organelles and established the connection between infection and death of brain cells. Rana’s team brings new data on how to strengthen the immune system to fight the virus.

Search for new therapeutic approaches

The team opens the door to look for new therapeutic approaches to mitigate the effects of infection through a mechanism of inhibition of the molecules concerned.

“We have used this 3D human brain development early model to find the causes of microcephaly in fetuses caused by zika” says Rana. “Part of my lab work on other viruses that cause damage to the central nervous system, and now want to return to study following this pattern,” he adds.

If only in vitro approach with a particular strain of virus – the MR766, from Uganda and different from the one that caused an outbreak of cases in Latin America -, this finding can better understand the virus to stop it.

This new study comes after the confirmation by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States, the link between Zika virus and reduced head abnormally detected in infants born to infected mothers.

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