1992, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA
2020 ~ date, CEO, Emerging Infectious Disease Division (EIDD), Biomedical Translation Research Center (BioTReC), Academia Sinica
Despite the low case fatality, Zika virus (ZIKV) infection has been associated with microcephaly in infants and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Antiviral and vaccine developments against ZIKV are still ongoing; therefore, in the meantime, preventing the disease transmission is critical. Primarily transmitted by Aedes species mosquitoes, ZIKV also can be sexually transmitted. We used AG129 mice lacking interferon-α/β and -γ receptors to study the testicular pathogenesis and sexual transmission of ZIKV. Infection of ZIKV progressively damaged mouse testes, increased testicular oxidative stress as indicated by the levels of reactive oxygen species, nitric oxide, glutathione peroxidase 4, spermatogenesis-associated-18 homolog in sperm and pro-inflammatory cytokines including IL-1β, IL-6, and G-CSF. We then evaluated the potential role of the antioxidant ebselen (EBS) in alleviating the testicular pathology with ZIKV infection. EBS treatment significantly reduced ZIKV-induced testicular oxidative stress, leucocyte infiltration and production of pro-inflammatory response. Furthermore, it improved testicular pathology and prevented the sexual transmission of ZIKV in a male-to-female mouse sperm transfer model. EBS is currently in clinical trials for various diseases. ZIKV infection could be on the list for potential use of EBS, for alleviating the testicular pathogenesis with ZIKV infection and preventing its sexual transmission.