Persistence of ZIKV-RNA in the cellular fraction of semen is accompanied by a surrogate-marker of viral replication. Diagnostic implications for sexual transmission

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Abstract

As asymptomatic infections represent 80% of ZIKV-infected individuals, sexual transmission is a rising concern. Recent studies highlighted a preferential association of ZIKV with the cellular fraction (CF) of different specimen types. Our aim was to evaluate the presence of ZIKV-RNA in different body fluids, focusing on semen specimens to assess the ZIKV-RNA content in either the unfractionated sample, its CF or seminal plasma (SP). In addition, to establish if the presence of ZIKV genome was associated with active virus replication, we measured the levels of negative-strand ZIKV-RNA. ZIKV total-RNA was detected in blood, urine and unfractionated semen, and neg-RNA in semen CF and SP samples longitudinally collected from two ZIKV-positive men followed at the National Institute for Infectious Diseases "L. Spallanzani", Italy. In both patients, ZIKV total-RNA was detected in CF with ct values always lower than in the corresponding unfractionated samples, and was observed even in the CF from negative unfractionated semen samples. In Patient 2, neg-RNA was also detected in CF, suggesting ongoing viral replication. Our results demonstrate higher clinical sensitivity of CF as compared to whole semen testing, emphasizing the need to extend ZIKV-RNA testing to CF, to rule out virus presence and the possible risk of sexual transmission.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Microbiologica
Volume40
Issue number4
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Nov 7 2017

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Semen
Biomarkers
RNA
Asymptomatic Infections
Body Fluids
Virus Replication
Italy
Communicable Diseases
Urine
Genome
Viruses

Keywords

  • Journal Article

Cite this

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title = "Persistence of ZIKV-RNA in the cellular fraction of semen is accompanied by a surrogate-marker of viral replication. Diagnostic implications for sexual transmission",
abstract = "As asymptomatic infections represent 80{\%} of ZIKV-infected individuals, sexual transmission is a rising concern. Recent studies highlighted a preferential association of ZIKV with the cellular fraction (CF) of different specimen types. Our aim was to evaluate the presence of ZIKV-RNA in different body fluids, focusing on semen specimens to assess the ZIKV-RNA content in either the unfractionated sample, its CF or seminal plasma (SP). In addition, to establish if the presence of ZIKV genome was associated with active virus replication, we measured the levels of negative-strand ZIKV-RNA. ZIKV total-RNA was detected in blood, urine and unfractionated semen, and neg-RNA in semen CF and SP samples longitudinally collected from two ZIKV-positive men followed at the National Institute for Infectious Diseases {"}L. Spallanzani{"}, Italy. In both patients, ZIKV total-RNA was detected in CF with ct values always lower than in the corresponding unfractionated samples, and was observed even in the CF from negative unfractionated semen samples. In Patient 2, neg-RNA was also detected in CF, suggesting ongoing viral replication. Our results demonstrate higher clinical sensitivity of CF as compared to whole semen testing, emphasizing the need to extend ZIKV-RNA testing to CF, to rule out virus presence and the possible risk of sexual transmission.",
keywords = "Journal Article",
author = "Mirella Biava and Claudia Caglioti and Concetta Castilletti and Licia Bordi and Fabrizio Carletti and Francesca Colavita and Serena Quartu and Emanuele Nicastri and Marco Iannetta and Francesco Vairo and Giuseppina Liuzzi and Fabrizio Taglietti and Giuseppe Ippolito and Capobianchi, {Maria Rosaria} and Eleonora Lalle",
year = "2017",
month = "11",
day = "7",
language = "English",
volume = "40",
journal = "New Microbiologica",
issn = "1121-7138",
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T1 - Persistence of ZIKV-RNA in the cellular fraction of semen is accompanied by a surrogate-marker of viral replication. Diagnostic implications for sexual transmission

AU - Biava, Mirella

AU - Caglioti, Claudia

AU - Castilletti, Concetta

AU - Bordi, Licia

AU - Carletti, Fabrizio

AU - Colavita, Francesca

AU - Quartu, Serena

AU - Nicastri, Emanuele

AU - Iannetta, Marco

AU - Vairo, Francesco

AU - Liuzzi, Giuseppina

AU - Taglietti, Fabrizio

AU - Ippolito, Giuseppe

AU - Capobianchi, Maria Rosaria

AU - Lalle, Eleonora

PY - 2017/11/7

Y1 - 2017/11/7

N2 - As asymptomatic infections represent 80% of ZIKV-infected individuals, sexual transmission is a rising concern. Recent studies highlighted a preferential association of ZIKV with the cellular fraction (CF) of different specimen types. Our aim was to evaluate the presence of ZIKV-RNA in different body fluids, focusing on semen specimens to assess the ZIKV-RNA content in either the unfractionated sample, its CF or seminal plasma (SP). In addition, to establish if the presence of ZIKV genome was associated with active virus replication, we measured the levels of negative-strand ZIKV-RNA. ZIKV total-RNA was detected in blood, urine and unfractionated semen, and neg-RNA in semen CF and SP samples longitudinally collected from two ZIKV-positive men followed at the National Institute for Infectious Diseases "L. Spallanzani", Italy. In both patients, ZIKV total-RNA was detected in CF with ct values always lower than in the corresponding unfractionated samples, and was observed even in the CF from negative unfractionated semen samples. In Patient 2, neg-RNA was also detected in CF, suggesting ongoing viral replication. Our results demonstrate higher clinical sensitivity of CF as compared to whole semen testing, emphasizing the need to extend ZIKV-RNA testing to CF, to rule out virus presence and the possible risk of sexual transmission.

AB - As asymptomatic infections represent 80% of ZIKV-infected individuals, sexual transmission is a rising concern. Recent studies highlighted a preferential association of ZIKV with the cellular fraction (CF) of different specimen types. Our aim was to evaluate the presence of ZIKV-RNA in different body fluids, focusing on semen specimens to assess the ZIKV-RNA content in either the unfractionated sample, its CF or seminal plasma (SP). In addition, to establish if the presence of ZIKV genome was associated with active virus replication, we measured the levels of negative-strand ZIKV-RNA. ZIKV total-RNA was detected in blood, urine and unfractionated semen, and neg-RNA in semen CF and SP samples longitudinally collected from two ZIKV-positive men followed at the National Institute for Infectious Diseases "L. Spallanzani", Italy. In both patients, ZIKV total-RNA was detected in CF with ct values always lower than in the corresponding unfractionated samples, and was observed even in the CF from negative unfractionated semen samples. In Patient 2, neg-RNA was also detected in CF, suggesting ongoing viral replication. Our results demonstrate higher clinical sensitivity of CF as compared to whole semen testing, emphasizing the need to extend ZIKV-RNA testing to CF, to rule out virus presence and the possible risk of sexual transmission.

KW - Journal Article

M3 - Article

VL - 40

JO - New Microbiologica

JF - New Microbiologica

SN - 1121-7138

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ER -