Background: Sexual transmission and persistence of Zika virus (ZIKV) in the male reproductive tract has raised concerned for potential damaging effects on function. Animal studies have demonstrated that ZIKV virus can infect and damage the testis and epididymis, and these results has been correlated to lower sperm counts in ZIKV-infected humans. The prostate plays a vital role in the male reproductive tract, with acute and chronic prostatitis linked to male infertility. Methods: In this study, we evaluated the effects of ZIKV virus on the prostate in mice and nonhuman primates. Results: In mice, ZIKV infected the prostate and triggered inflammation that persisted even after virus clearance. Evidence of chronic prostatitis associated with ZIKV infection remained for several months. Similar histological findings were observed in the prostate of ZIKV-infected rhesus macaques. Conclusions: These studies establish that ZIKV replicates in the prostate and can cause acute and chronic inflammatory and proliferative changes in mouse and nonhuman primate models.
- Animal models
- Zika virus