The recent study has demonstrated that the Zika virus might also impact adult brains.
The affected adult neurons are those used to reconstruct lost and broken neurons in adult brains which are extremely important when learning.
Until now, the focus of the Zika virus was only on how it affects the fetal brain development and on how pregnant women should avoid getting infected by canceling their visits to areas where the virus was installed.
The study was conducted on mice and analyzed for the first time the effects that the virus has on the adult brains. The conclusion revealed that getting infected with the Zika virus is not be as inoffensive as people consider.
Sujan Shresta, a professor at the La Jolla Institute of Allergy and Immunology concludes that it is a certainty that the virus can penetrate the brain cells of the adult and have an unfavorable effect.
The infection with the mosquito-borne Zika virus can also damage adult brains.
However, more studies must be carried to find out how this damage on adult brain cells has long-term biological implications or how it can potentially influence a person’s behavior.
Researchers focused on the early forms of brain cells that go on to convert into neurons, called neural progenitor cells and often pictured them as being the stem cells of the brain. By striking these neural progenitor cells in children, Zika induces microcephaly which leads to babies being born with unexpected small heads, brain damage, and disabilities.
During previous investigations, researchers explained that the key to the brain’s ability to adapt and evolve is integrating new neurons into learning and memory circuits. Without this process, the cognitive progression declines and could lead to Alzheimer’s disease or other similar illnesses.
Adult brains also contain some of the niches of these neural progenitor cells which fill up neurons in parts of the brain associated with learning and memory.
By using fluorescent biomarkers in mice, researchers observed that the adult neural progenitor cells were exposed to the Zika infection and were killed by the virus. Nevertheless, it is unclear what could be the impact the virus has on adult brains over time.
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