Frequent Zika Virus Sexual Transmission and Prolonged Viral RNA Shedding in an Immunodeficient Mouse Model

Nisha K. Duggal, Jana M. Ritter, Samuel E. Pestorius, Sherif R. Zaki, Brent S. Davis, Gwong Jen J. Chang, Richard A. Bowen, Aaron Brault

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

92 Scopus citations

Abstract

Circulation of Zika virus (ZIKV) was first identified in the Western hemisphere in late 2014. Primarily transmitted through mosquito bite, ZIKV can also be transmitted through sex and from mother to fetus, and maternal ZIKV infection has been associated with fetal malformations. We assessed immunodeficient AG129 mice for their capacity to shed ZIKV in semen and to infect female mice via sexual transmission. Infectious virus was detected in semen between 7 and 21 days post-inoculation, and ZIKV RNA was detected in semen through 58 days post-inoculation. During mating, 73% of infected males transmitted ZIKV to uninfected females, and 50% of females became infected, with evidence of fetal infection in resulting pregnancies. Semen from vasectomized mice contained significantly lower levels of infectious virus, though sexual transmission still occurred. This model provides a platform for studying the kinetics of ZIKV sexual transmission and prolonged RNA shedding also observed in human semen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1751-1760
Number of pages10
JournalCell Reports
Volume18
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 14 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • animal model
  • mouse model
  • pregnancy
  • semen
  • sexual transmission
  • vasectomy
  • Zika virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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  • Cite this

    Duggal, N. K., Ritter, J. M., Pestorius, S. E., Zaki, S. R., Davis, B. S., Chang, G. J. J., Bowen, R. A., & Brault, A. (2017). Frequent Zika Virus Sexual Transmission and Prolonged Viral RNA Shedding in an Immunodeficient Mouse Model. Cell Reports, 18(7), 1751-1760. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2017.01.056