Zika virus (ZIKV) emerged suddenly in the Americas in 2015 and was associated with a widespread outbreak of microcephaly and other severe congenital abnormalities in infants born to mothers infected during pregnancy. Vertical transmission of ZIKV in humans was confirmed when viral RNA was detected in fetal and placental tissues, and this outcome has been recapitulated experimentally in animals. Unlike other flaviviruses, ZIKV is both arthropod-and sexually-transmitted, and has a broad tissue tropism in humans, including multiple tissues of the reproductive tract. The threats posed by ZIKV have prompted the development of multiple in vivo models to better understand the pathogenesis of ZIKV, particularly during pregnancy. Here, we review the progress on animal models of ZIKV infection during pregnancy. These studies have generated a foundation of insights into the biology of ZIKV, and provide a means for evaluating vaccines and therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number598
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Animal models
  • Congenital zika syndrome
  • Mice
  • Non-human primates
  • Pathogenesis
  • Pregnancy
  • Vaccines
  • Zika virus


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