A CT imaging study in 23 infants with Zika virus–linked congenital microcephaly has revealed severe brain anomalies, in particular intracranial calcifications mainly in the frontal and parietal lobes that were mostly punctate, often with a bandlike distribution.
Head CT images were taken between 3 days and 5 months after birth (mean age, 36 days) revealing ventriculomegaly in all infants, which was severe in more than half, according to a letter published online April 6 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Researchers also observed global hypogyration in the cerebral cortex in all the infants (severe in 78%) and cerebellar hypoplasia in 74%, as well as an abnormally low density of white matter in all cases (N Engl J Med. 2016 April 6. doi: 10.1056/NEJMc1603617).
“The global presence of cortical hypogyration and white-matter hypomyelination or dysmyelination in all the infants, and cerebellar hypoplasia in the majority of them, suggest that ZIKV [Zika virus] is associated with a disruption in brain development rather than a destruction of brain,” wrote Dr. Adriano N. Hazin of the Instituto di Medicina Integral Professor Fernando Figueira, Recife, Brazil, and coauthors who reported the findings for the Microcephaly Epidemic Research Group.
Two authors declared grants from the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico. No other conflicts of interest were declared.