Congenital Zika virus infection impacts on male mouse offspring's reproductive biology

Natália Teixeira Wnuk, André Felipe Almeida Figueiredo, Talita de Oliveira Farias, Marcos Rocha Gouvêa Brener, Samyra Maria dos Santos Nassif Lacerda, Vidyleison Neves Camargos, Paulo Henrique Amaral, Lídia Maria Andrade, Maria Ivonete Nogueira Silva, Roberta Araujo Lopes, Raphael Escorsim Szawka, Juan Carlos González, Mauro Martins Teixeira, Danielle da Glória de Souza, Vivian Vasconcelos Costa, Guilherme Mattos Jardim Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Infection with ZIKV during pregnancy is associated with fetal developmental problems. Although neurological issues are being explored more in experimental studies, limited research has focused on the reproductive health consequences for offspring born to infected mothers. In this context, this study aimed to assess the impact of ZIKV infection during pregnancy on the testes and sperm of adult male offspring. Female mice were intraperitoneally inoculated with a Brazil strain of ZIKV during the 5.5th day of embryonic gestation. The offspring were evaluated 12 weeks after birth to analyze cellular and molecular changes in the testes and sperm. A novel approach combining variable-angle spectroscopic ellipsometry and machine learning modeling was also introduced for sperm sample analysis. The study revealed the presence of ZIKV protein in the testis parenchyma of adult male offspring born to infected mothers. It was shown that the testes exhibited altered steroidogenesis and inflammatory mediators, in addition to significant issues with spermiogenesis that resulted in sperm with DNA fragmentation, head defects, and protamination failure. Additionally, sperm dielectric properties and artificial intelligence showed potential for rapid identification and classification of sperm samples from infected mice. These findings provide crucial insights into the reproductive risks for men born from ZIKV-infected pregnant women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Embryology
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Cell Biology


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