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J Neurovirol ; 27(2): 197-216, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1080993


The pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has caused widespread infection and significant mortality across the globe. Combined virology perspective of SARS-CoV-2 with a deep-rooted understanding of pathophysiological and immunological processes underlying the clinical manifestations of COVID-19 is of prime importance. The characteristic symptom of COVID-19 is respiratory distress with diffused alveolar damage, but emerging evidence suggests COVID-19 might also have neurologic consequences. Dysregulated homeostasis in the lungs has proven to be fatal, but one cannot ignore that the inability to breathe might be due to defects in the respiratory control center of the brainstem. While the mechanism of pulmonary distress has been documented in the literature, awareness of neurological features and their pathophysiology is still in the nascent state. This review makes references to the neuro-immune axis and neuro-invasive potential of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV2, as well as the prototypic H-CoV strains in human brains. Simultaneously, considerable discussion on relevant experimental evidence of mild to severe neurological manifestations of fellow neurotropic murine-ß-CoVs (m-CoVs) in the mouse model will help understand the underpinning mechanisms of Neuro-COVID. In this review, we have highlighted the neuroimmunopathological processes in murine CoVs. While MHV infection in mice and SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans share numerous parallels, there are critical differences in viral recognition and viral entry. These similarities are highlighted in this review, while differences have also been emphasized. Though CoV-2 Spike does not favorably interact with murine ACE2 receptor, modification of murine SARS-CoV2 binding domain or development of transgenic ACE-2 knock-in mice might help in mediating consequential infection and understanding human CoV2 pathogenesis in murine models. While a global animal model that can replicate all aspects of the human disease remains elusive, prior insights and further experiments with fellow m-ß-CoV-induced cause-effect experimental models and current human COVID-19 patients data may help to mitigate the SARS-CoV-2-induced multifactorial multi-organ failure.

COVID-19/pathology , Disease Models, Animal , Murine hepatitis virus/pathogenicity , Neuroimmunomodulation/physiology , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Humans , Mice , Murine hepatitis virus/immunology , SARS-CoV-2
J Virol ; 94(14)2020 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-823496


Mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) is a murine betacoronavirus (m-CoV) that causes a wide range of diseases in mice and rats, including hepatitis, enteritis, respiratory diseases, and encephalomyelitis in the central nervous system (CNS). MHV infection in mice provides an efficient cause-effect experimental model to understand the mechanisms of direct virus-induced neural-cell damage leading to demyelination and axonal loss, which are pathological features of multiple sclerosis (MS), the most common disabling neurological disease in young adults. Infiltration of T lymphocytes, activation of microglia, and their interplay are the primary pathophysiological events leading to disruption of the myelin sheath in MS. However, there is emerging evidence supporting gray matter involvement and degeneration in MS. The investigation of T cell function in the pathogenesis of deep gray matter damage is necessary. Here, we employed RSA59 (an isogenic recombinant strain of MHV-A59)-induced experimental neuroinflammation model to compare the disease in CD4-/- mice with that in CD4+/+ mice at days 5, 10, 15, and 30 postinfection (p.i.). Viral titer estimation, nucleocapsid gene amplification, and viral antinucleocapsid staining confirmed enhanced replication of the virions in the absence of functional CD4+ T cells in the brain. Histopathological analyses showed elevated susceptibility of CD4-/- mice to axonal degeneration in the CNS, with augmented progression of acute poliomyelitis and dorsal root ganglionic inflammation rarely observed in CD4+/+ mice. Depletion of CD4+ T cells showed unique pathological bulbar vacuolation in the brain parenchyma of infected mice with persistent CD11b+ microglia/macrophages in the inflamed regions on day 30 p.i. In summary, the current study suggests that CD4+ T cells are critical for controlling acute-stage poliomyelitis (gray matter inflammation), chronic axonal degeneration, and inflammatory demyelination due to loss of protective antiviral host immunity.IMPORTANCE The current trend in CNS disease biology is to attempt to understand the neural-cell-immune interaction to investigate the underlying mechanism of neuroinflammation, rather than focusing on peripheral immune activation. Most studies in MS are targeted toward understanding the involvement of CNS white matter. However, the importance of gray matter damage has become critical in understanding the long-term progressive neurological disorder. Our study highlights the importance of CD4+ T cells in safeguarding neurons against axonal blebbing and poliomyelitis from murine betacoronavirus-induced neuroinflammation. Current knowledge of the mechanisms that lead to gray matter damage in MS is limited, because the most widely used animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), does not present this aspect of the disease. Our results, therefore, add to the existing limited knowledge in the field. We also show that the microglia, though important for the initiation of neuroinflammation, cannot establish a protective host immune response without the help of CD4+ T cells.

Axons/immunology , Axons/metabolism , CD4 Antigens/deficiency , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Murine hepatitis virus/physiology , Poliomyelitis/etiology , Animals , Axons/pathology , Brain/immunology , Brain/metabolism , Brain/pathology , CD4 Lymphocyte Count , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Cytokines/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Disease Susceptibility/immunology , Ganglia, Spinal/immunology , Ganglia, Spinal/metabolism , Ganglia, Spinal/pathology , Immunohistochemistry , Inflammation Mediators/metabolism , Mice