A group of scientists from Stanford University identified cells which are vulnerable to Zika virus during the fetus’ development.
The devastating virus, which is transmitted by the bite of Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus mosquitoes, can infect cells that have a role in the skull’s development: this would be the reason why thousands of babies are suffer from microcephaly.
In laboratory experiments, researchers found that neural crest cells, in the skull, are vulnerable to Zika. These cells form most of the bone and cartilage of the head, and they are related to the development of the brain.
These cells appear in the first trimester of pregnancy, which, according to the researchers, is related with problems during Zika-infected mothers’ birth.
The research was published in the Cell Host & Microbe magazine and it claims to offer clues for further researches, such as whether the virus is enough to suffer from microcephaly.