The recent Zika virus (ZIKV) epidemic has highlighted the poor knowledge on its physiopathology. Recent studies showed that ZIKV of the Asian lineage, responsible for this international outbreak, causes neuropathology in vitro and in vivo. However, two African lineages exist and the virus is currently found circulating in Africa. The original African strain was also suggested to be neurovirulent but its laboratory usage has been criticized due to its multiple passages. In this study, we compared the French Polynesian (Asian) ZIKV strain to an African strain isolated in Central African Republic and show a difference in infectivity and cellular response between both strains in human neural stem cells and astrocytes. Consistently, this African strain led to a higher infection rate and viral production, as well as stronger cell death and anti-viral response. Our results highlight the need to better characterize the physiopathology and predict neurological impairment associated with African ZIKV.
Simonin, Y., Loustalot, F., Desmetz, C., Foulongne, V., Constant, O., Fournier-Wirth, C., … Salinas, S. (2016). Zika Virus Strains Potentially Display Different Infectious Profiles in Human Neural Cells. EBioMedicine, 12, 161–169. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.09.020