Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 35699338
Link to DOI – 10.1111/ene.15444
Eur J Neurol 2022 Jun; ():
Zika Virus (ZIKV) infection has been associated with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS). Yet, little is known about the consequence of ZIKV infection on olfaction in humans.Just right before the COVID-19 outbreak, we prospectively investigated the olfactory capacities of 19 patients with ZIKV-associated GBS from the French West Indies and compared them to 9 controls from the same population, with a GBS of similar severity but independent of Zika infection. To provide further evidence that ZIKV infection induces smell alteration, we investigated the consequences of ZIKV infection on olfactory abilities using a mouse model.Patients with GBS-Zika+ had a poorer olfactory function than GBS-non-Zika, even one to two years after the acute phase. The proportion of patients with hyposmia was significantly higher in GBS-Zika+ than in GBS-non-Zika group (68.4% versus 22.2%, P=0.042). These deficits were characterized by lower threshold and identification scores and were independent from GBS severity. Additionally, ZIKV infection was found to impair olfaction in immunodeficient mice infected with ZIKV. High viral load was observed in their olfactory system and downstream brain structures. ZIKV promoted both cellular damages in the olfactory neuroepithelium and protracted inflammation of the olfactory bulb, likely accounting for smell alteration.Patients with ZIKV-related GBS had a poorer long-term olfactory function than patients with GBS-non-Zika and ZIKV-infected mice are hyposmic. These observations suggest that ZIKV belongs to the list of viruses affecting the olfactory system. Clinical evaluation of the olfactory system should be considered for ZIKV-infected patients.