Zika virus (ZIKV) is a flavivirus that originated in Africa but emerged in Latin America in 2015. In this region, other flaviviruses such as Dengue (DENV), West Nile, and Yellow Fever Virus (YFV) also circulate, allowing for possible antigenic cross-reactivity to impact viral infections and immune responses. Studies have found antibody mediated enhancement between DENV and ZIKV, but the impact of YFV antibodies on ZIKV infection has not been fully explored. ZIKV infections cause congenital syndromes, such as microcephaly, necessitating further research into ZIKV vertical transmission through the placental barrier. Recent advancements in biomedical engineering have generated co-culture methods that allow for in vitro recapitulation of the maternal: fetal interface. This study utilized a transwell assay, which is a co-culture model utilizing human placental syncytiotrophoblasts, fetal umbilical cells, and a differentiating embryoid body to replicate the maternal: fetal axis. To determine if cross reactive YFV vaccine antibodies impact the pathogenesis of ZIKV across the maternal fetal axis, maternal syncytiotrophoblasts were inoculated with ZIKV or ZIKV incubated with YFV vaccine anti-sera, and viral load was measured 72 hours post inoculation. The data show that the impact of YFV on ZIKV replication is cell line dependent. In differentiating embryoids, the presence of YFV antibodies enhanced ZIKV infection. Since viral pathogenesis, and the impact of antigenic cross-reactive antibodies, is cell line specific at the maternal-fetal axis, this suggests there may be discreet mechanisms that impact congenital ZIKV infections.
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