Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Muthuraj, P.G.; Pattnaik, A.; Sahoo, P.K.; Islam, M.T.; Pattnaik, A.K.; Byrareddy, S.N.; Hanson, C.; Anderson Berry, A.; Kachman, S.D.; Natarajan, S.K. Palmitoleate Protects against Zika Virus-Induced Placental Trophoblast Apoptosis. Biomedicines 2021, 9, 643. 10.3390/biomedicines9060643




Zika virus (ZIKV) infection in pregnancy is associated with the development of microcephaly, intrauterine growth restriction, and ocular damage in the fetus. ZIKV infection of the placenta plays a crucial role in the vertical transmission from the maternal circulation to the fetus. Our previous study suggested that ZIKV induces endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and apoptosis of placental trophoblasts. Here, we showed that palmitoleate, an omega-7 monounsaturated fatty acid, prevents ZIKV-induced ER stress and apoptosis in placental trophoblasts. Human trophoblast cell lines (JEG-3 and JAR) and normal immortalized trophoblasts (HTR-8) were used. We observed that ZIKV infection of the trophoblasts resulted in apoptosis and treatment of palmitoleate to ZIKV infected cells significantly prevented apoptosis. However, palmitate (saturated fatty acid) did not offer protection from ZIKV-induced ER stress and apoptosis. We also observed that the Zika viral RNA copies were decreased, and the cell viability improved in ZIKV-infected cells treated with palmitoleate as compared to the infected cells without palmitoleate treatment. Further, palmitoleate was shown to protect against ZIKV-induced upregulation of ER stress markers, C/EBP homologous protein and X-box binding protein-1 splicing in placental trophoblasts. In conclusion, our studies suggest that palmitoleate protects placental trophoblasts against ZIKV-induced ER stress and apoptosis.