Prevalence of IgG autoantibodies against GD3 ganglioside in acute Zika virus infection

Dirlei Nico, Luciana Conde, Juan L. Rivera-Correa, Andréia Vasconcelos-dos-Santos, Louise Mesentier-Louro, Leonardo Freire-de-Lima, Mônica Barcellos Arruda, Celio Geraldo Freire-de-Lima, Orlando da Costa Ferreira, Maria Elisabeth Lopes Moreira, Andrea Araújo Zin, Zilton Farias Meira Vasconcelos, Rosalia Mendez Otero, Clarisa Beatriz Palatnik-de-Sousa, Amilcar Tanuri, Adriane Regina Todeschini, Wilson Savino, Ana Rodriguez, Alexandre Morrot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Zika virus (ZIKV) disease has become a global health emergency with devastating effects on public health. Recent evidences implicate the virus as an emergent neuropathological agent promoting serious pathologies of the human nervous system, that include destructive and malformation consequences such as development of ocular and fetal brain lesions, microcephaly in neonates, and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) in adults. These neurological disorders of both central and peripheral nervous systems are thought to be associated to the neurotropic properties of the virus that has ability to infect neural stem cells as well as peripheral neurons, a hallmark of its pathogenicity. The presence of autoantibodies against gangliosides plays a pivotal role in the etiogenesis of GBS and a variety of neurological disorders. Gangliosides are a class of galactose-containing cerebrosides mainly expressed in nervous system tissues playing a critical role in the physiology of neural cells and neurogenesis. Herein, our findings indicate that patients at acute phase of ZIKV infection without any neurological signs show increased levels of IgG autoantibody against GD3 gangliosides, a class of glycolipid found to be highly expressed in neural stem cell acting in the maintenance of their self-renewal cellular capacity. It is possible that a pathological threshold of these antibodies is only acquired in secondary or subsequent infections. In the light of these evidences, we propose that the target of GD3 by autoimmune responses may possibly has an effect in the neuropathy and neurogenesis disorder seen during ZIKV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
JournalFrontiers in Medicine
Issue numberMAR
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Autoantibody
  • Autoimmunity
  • Gangliosides
  • Infectious diseases
  • Zika virus


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