Zika linked to infertility in male mice

Zika attacks cells in the testes of mice that are critical for sperm and sex hormone production, according to a new study published in the journal Nature.

Previous research demonstrated the presence of Zika infections in the testes of male mice. For the new study, researchers monitored the effect of the virus on testicular cells. Examination revealed the virus targets two types of cells in mice testes: spermatogonia, which create sperm, and Sertoli cells, which facilitate sperm development. When infected mice mated, they struggled to impregnate female mice and produced fewer viable fetuses than the Zika-free male mice.

"This is what we see in mice," said senior author of the study Michael Diamond, MD, PhD, a viral immunologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, according to STAT. "How much of this applies to humans? That's the key question that needs to be addressed in longitudinal studies."

More articles on the Zika virus: 
Dengue vaccination may boost Zika transmission 
Puerto Rico identifies first case of Zika-related microcephaly 
Nearly 1,000 pregnant US women have Zika 

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