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Clin Infect Dis ; 73(9): e3019-e3026, 2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1501050


BACKGROUND: Recent findings indicated that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-related neurological manifestations involve cytokine release syndrome along with endothelial activation, blood brain barrier dysfunction, and immune-mediated mechanisms. Very few studies have fully investigated the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) correlates of SARS-CoV-2 encephalitis. METHODS: Patients with polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and encephalitis (COV-Enc), encephalitis without SARS-CoV-2 infection (ENC), and healthy controls (HC) underwent an extended panel of CSF neuronal (neurofilament light chain [NfL], T-tau), glial (glial fibrillary acidic protein [GFAP], soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 [sTREM2], chitinase-3-like protein 1 [YKL-40]) and inflammatory biomarkers (interleukin [IL]-1ß, IL-6, Il-8, tumor necrosis factor [TNF] α, CXCL-13, and ß2-microglobulin). RESULTS: Thirteen COV-Enc, 21 ENC, and 18 HC entered the study. In COV-Enc cases, CSF was negative for SARS-CoV-2 real-time PCR but exhibited increased IL-8 levels independently from presence of pleocytosis/hyperproteinorracchia. COV-Enc patients showed increased IL-6, TNF- α, and ß2-microglobulin and glial markers (GFAP, sTREM2, YKL-40) levels similar to ENC but normal CXCL13 levels. Neuronal markers NfL and T-tau were abnormal only in severe cases. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2-related encephalitis were associated with prominent glial activation and neuroinflammatory markers, whereas neuronal markers were increased in severe cases only. The pattern of CSF alterations suggested a cytokine-release syndrome as the main inflammatory mechanism of SARS-CoV-2-related encephalitis.

COVID-19 , Encephalitis , Cytokine Release Syndrome , Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
Immunol Res ; 69(6): 553-557, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1345196


The persistence of neurological symptoms after SARS-CoV-2 infection, as well as the presence of late axonal damage, is still unknown. We performed extensive systemic and neurological follow-up evaluations in 107 out of 193 consecutive patients admitted to the COVID-19 medical unit, University Hospital of Verona, Italy between March and June 2020. We analysed serum neurofilament light chain (NfL) levels in all cases including a subgroup (n = 29) of patients with available onset samples. Comparisons between clinical and biomarker data were then performed. Neurological symptoms were still present in a significant number (n = 49) of patients over the follow-up. The most common reported symptoms were hyposmia (n = 11), fatigue (n = 28), myalgia (n = 14), and impaired memory (n = 11) and were more common in cases with severe acute COVID-19. Follow-up serum NfL values (15.2 pg/mL, range 2.4-62.4) were within normal range in all except 5 patients and did not differentiate patients with vs without persistent neurological symptoms. In patients with available onset and follow-up samples, a significant (p < 0.001) decrease of NfL levels was observed and was more evident in patients with a severe acute disease. Despite the common persistence of neurological symptoms, COVID-19 survivors do not show active axonal damage, which seems a peculiar feature of acute SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Axons/pathology , COVID-19/pathology , Nervous System Diseases/pathology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Ageusia/pathology , Ageusia/virology , Anosmia/pathology , Anosmia/virology , Axons/virology , Disease Progression , Fatigue/pathology , Fatigue/virology , Female , Humans , Italy , Male , Memory Disorders/pathology , Memory Disorders/virology , Middle Aged , Myalgia/pathology , Myalgia/virology , Nervous System Diseases/virology , Neurofilament Proteins/blood , SARS-CoV-2
J Neurovirol ; 27(4): 631-637, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1338291


SARS-CoV-2 survivors may report persistent symptoms that resemble myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). We explored (a) ME/CFS-like symptom prevalence and (b) whether axonal, inflammatory, and/or lung changes may contribute to ME/CFS-like symptoms in SARS-CoV-2 survivors through clinical, neuropsychiatric, neuropsychological, lung function assessment, and serum neurofilament light chain, an axonal damage biomarker. ME/CFS-like features were found in 27% of our sample. ME/CFS-like group showed worse sleep quality, fatigue, pain, depressive symptoms, subjective cognitive complaints, Borg baseline dyspnea of the 6-min walking test vs. those without ME/CFS-like symptoms. These preliminary findings raise concern on a possible future ME/CFS-like pandemic in SARS-CoV-2 survivors.

COVID-19/complications , Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic/epidemiology , Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic/virology , Adult , Aged , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2