Zika virus infects pericytes in the choroid plexus and enters the central nervous system through the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier [article]

Jihye Kim, Michal Hetman, Eyas M Hattab, Joshua Joiner, Brian Alejandro, Horst Schroten, Hiroshi Ishikawa, Donghoon Chung
2019 bioRxiv   pre-print
Zika virus (ZIKV) can infect and cause microcephaly and Zika-associated neurological complications in the developing fetal and adult brains. In terms of pathogenesis, a critical question is how ZIKV overcomes the barriers separating the brain from the circulation and gains access to the central nervous system (CNS). Despite the importance of ZIKV pathogenesis, the route ZIKV utilizes to cross CNS barriers remains unclear. Here we show that in mouse models, ZIKV-infected cells initially appeared
more » ... initially appeared in the periventricular regions of the brain, including the choroid plexus and the meninges, prior to infection of the cortex. The appearance of ZIKV in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) preceded infection of the brain parenchyma. We show that ZIKV infects pericytes in the choroid plexus, and that ZIKV infection of pericytes is dependent on AXL receptor tyrosine kinase. Using an in vitro Transwell system, we highlight the possibility of ZIKV to move from the blood side to CSF side, across the choroid plexus epithelial layers, via a nondestructive pathway (e.g., transcytosis). Finally, we demonstrate that brain infection is significantly attenuated by neutralization of the virus in the CSF, indicating that ZIKV in the CSF at the early stage of infection might be responsible for establishing a lethal infection of the brain. Taken together, our results suggest that ZIKV invades the host brain by exploiting the blood-CSF barrier rather than the blood-brain barrier.
doi:10.1101/841437 fatcat:lxgpo7pf4vdhxfqowaqdzx5v34