America's North Shore Journal

Supporting the Ninth Amendment

An update on the study Congenital Zika virus syndrome in Brazil

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1 Comment

  1. Interesting information, I’m struck by the observation that brain calcification and craniofacial morphologies appear to be unique in the observed cases. While this might preclude the involvement of TORCH infections etc, it does not prove the case for Zika virus as a causative factor. A number of DNA transcription factors are known to increase the rate of bone development and calcification, thyroxine being an obvious example. Somewhat paradoxically elevated levels of thyroxine reduce cranial growth by upregulating bone development… This causes premature fusion of growth margins in the skull plate, and can result in microcephaly. Something like that might also cause the observed ‘brain’ calcifications. While thyroxine may not be the direct causative agent in the microcephaly cluster from North East Brazil, a transcription factor that similarly effects bone development is highly likely to be a primary cause.

    Pyriproxyfen is a possible candidate that deserves to be further examined, primarily because there is significant overlap between arthropod and vertebrate hormone signalling systems, and pyriproxyfen’s role as a potential receptor ligand in mammalian foetuses has not been investigated. One potential pyriproxyfen receptor target which deserves particular attention is the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AHR) which is a putative vertebrate homologue for Methoprene Tolerant, which is the insect receptor of Juvenile Hormone & insect growth regulators such as pyriproxyfen. AHR activation is implicated in microcephaly and limb deformities caused by dioxins, so it is not unreasonable to presume possible involvement in current microcephaly cases. It is also worth noting that AHR interacts closely with retinoid receptors, and that significant downstream crosstalk with the Thyroid hormone Receptor is not out of the question.

    I do not believe that the symptoms observed in the microcephaly cases reported from North East Brazil are consistent with viral brain infection, much more attention should be given to transcription factors, be they viral or chemical

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