Zika Infection During Pregnancy May Disrupt Fetal Oxygen Supply

A female Aedes mosquito. NIAID

NIH-funded study observes virus-induced placental damage in monkeys.

What

Zika virus infection appears to affect oxygen delivery to the fetuses of pregnant monkeys, according to a small study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Researchers also observed a high degree of inflammation in the placenta and lining of the uterus, which can harm the fetal immune system and increase a newborn’s susceptibility to additional infections.Read full story

NIH Scientists Find Microbes on the Skin of Mice Promote Tissue Healing, Immunity

Immunofluorescent image of immune cells surrounding a skin wound, enriched in the beneficial bacteria S. epidermidis. NIAID

Insights may inform wound management techniques

What

Beneficial bacteria (link is external) on the skin of lab mice work with the animals’ immune systems to defend against disease-causing microbes and accelerate wound healing, according to new research from scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.… Read full story

Memory Gene Goes Viral

Memory gene acts like a virus: Two independent teams of NIH-funded researchers discovered that the Arc gene can package its genetic material in a virus-like shell for delivery to nearby cells.NIH

NIH-funded research reveals novel method for transferring genetic material between neurons

Two independent teams of scientists from the University of Utah and the University of Massachusetts Medical School have discovered that a gene crucial for learning, called Arc, can send its genetic material from one neuron to another by employing a strategy commonly used by viruses.… Read full story

New Study Offers Insights on Genetic Indicators of COPD Risk

Top: Standard central airway anatomy with medial basal airway present (red arrow). Bottom: Absent medial basal airway variant (red circle).Eric A. Hoffman, University of Iowa, MESA Lung/SPIROMICS Radiology Ready Center

Researchers have discovered that genetic variations in the anatomy of the lungs could serve as indicators to help identify people who have low, but stable, lung function early in life, and those who are particularly at risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) because of a smoke-induced decline in lung function.… Read full story