Multimodal assessments of Zika virus immune pathophysiological responses in marmosets

Fok-Moon Lum, Wei Zhang, Kheng-Choon Lim, Benoit Malleret, Teck-Hui Teo, Jun-Jia Koh, Kuan J. Lee, Tze-Kwang Chua, Yiu-Wing Kam, Wearn-Xin Yee, Isaac Huen, Jeslin J. L. Tan, Siti Naqiah Amrun, Bhanu Prakash KN, Patrick J. Cozzone, Laurent Renia, Philip T. H. Lee, Lisa F. P. Ng
Scientific Reports2018
Animal models that recapitulate the human pathophysiology have been developed as useful research tools. Although laboratory mice are widely used, they are phylogenetically “distant” to humans. New world monkeys, such as the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) have steadily gained prominence. In this report, marmosets are explored as an alternate in vivo model to investigate infection and immunity of Zika virus (ZIKV). Multimodal platforms, including ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), flow cytometry, and multiplex microbead immunoassays were established to comprehensively decipher immune responses and pathophysiological outcomes. While ZIKV-infected marmosets had detectable ZIKV RNA load in various body fluids, animals did not develop any observable lesions in their testes and brains as shown by ultrasound and MRI. Immune-phenotyping detected differences in the numbers of B cells, CD8+ T cells and HLADR+ NK cells during the first two weeks of infection. Neutralizing ZIKV-specific antibodies were elicited to high levels and targeted epitopes in the E protein. This study presents a one-stop-shop platform to study infection and pathophysiology in marmosets. While marmoset-specific research tools are being refined, the research values of these animals present them as a good model for immune-based therapies.

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