DETROIT — Researchers at a Detroit institution were the first to find that the Zika virus can damage eyes and lead to blindness.
The Kresge Eye Institute at the Wayne State University School of Medicine discovered the Zika virus can replicate in the eye’s retinal cells and cause severe tissue damage, according to a news release from the school.
“We studied the interaction of ZIKV (the Zika virus) with retinal cells.
Ashok Kumar, Ph.D., led a team of researchers who investigated how and why the virus causes abnormalities in the eye.
We observed that ZIKV can replicate and survive in retinal cells and ultimately kill them.
Mouse model could shed new light on immune system response to Zika virus
The new mouse model could be used in further research to investigate the immune response to Zika virus.
A digitally-colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of Zika virus, which is a member of the family Flaviviridae.
“Our findings are particularly exciting because we now know that we can study the immune response to Zika virus in mice with a normal immune system,” the authors explain.
Like other viruses, Zika virus caused an innate and adaptive immune response in the mice.
This approach led to identification of a specific portion (“epitope”) of a Zika virus protein that is recognized by mouse T cells.
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