Study: Zika Can Infect Adult Brain Cells

While previous studies seemed to indicate that Zika only affected prenatal human brains, a recent study revealed that the mosquito-borne virus could also have devastating effects on the adult brain. Conducted by researchers from Rockefeller University and La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology and published in Cell Stem Cell, the study on adult mice showed that neural stem cells (which remain in the adult brain) are vulnerable to Zika and the virus can cause potentially long-term neurological impairment or changes in behavior. While fetuses are more suceptible to Zika-related damage because their developing brains are primarily composed of these “neural progenitor” cells, study co-author Joseph Gleeson said the adult brain can be infected in the same way.