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Growth hormone attenuates the brain damage caused by ZIKV infection in mice

Zi-Da Zhena;Na Wu;Dong-Ying Fan;Jun-Hong Ai;Zheng-Ran Song;Jia-Tong Chang;Pei-Gang Wang;Yan-Hua Wu;Jing An;Department of Microbiology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Capital Medical University;Laboratory Animal Resource Center, Capital Medical University;  
As a member of vector-borne viruses, Zika virus(ZIKV) can cause microcephaly and various neurological symptoms in newborns. Previously, we found that ZIKV could infect hypothalamus, causing a decrease in growth hormone(GH) secretion, growth delay and deficits in learning and memory in suckling mice. Early administration of GH can improve the cognitive function of the mice. Therefore, in this study we further investigated the mechanism underlying the protective role of GH in ZIKV infection in suckling mice. Our results showed that GH could effectively reduce brain damage caused by ZIKV infection via reducing cell apoptosis and inflammatory response rather than inhibiting viral replication. Our results provide important evidences not only for understanding the mechanism underlying ZIKV-associated neurological symptoms but also for the treatment of ZIKV infection.
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