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Brain ; 2022.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-2017742


Infection with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is associated with acute and postacute cognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms including impaired memory, concentration, attention, sleep and affect. Mechanisms underlying these brain symptoms remain understudied. Here we report that SARS-CoV-2-infected hamsters exhibit a lack of viral neuroinvasion despite aberrant blood-brain barrier permeability. Hamsters and patients deceased from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) also exhibit microglial activation and expression of interleukin (IL)-1beta and IL-6, especially within the hippocampus and the medulla oblongata, when compared with non-COVID control hamsters and humans who died from other infections, cardiovascular disease, uraemia or trauma. In the hippocampal dentate gyrus of both COVID-19 hamsters and humans, we observed fewer neuroblasts and immature neurons. Protracted inflammation, blood-brain barrier disruption and microglia activation may result in altered neurotransmission, neurogenesis and neuronal damage, explaining neuropsychiatric presentations of COVID-19. The involvement of the hippocampus may explain learning, memory and executive dysfunctions in COVID-19 patients.

Preprint in English | MEDLINE | ID: ppcovidwho-326650


SARS-CoV-2 has caused a historic pandemic of respiratory disease (COVID-19) and current evidence suggests severe disease is associated with dysregulated immunity within the respiratory tract. However, the innate immune mechanisms that mediate protection during COVID-19 are not well defined. Here we characterize a mouse model of SARS-CoV-2 infection and find that early CCR2-dependent infiltration of monocytes restricts viral burden in the lung. We find that a recently developed mouse-adapted MA-SARS-CoV-2 strain, as well as the emerging B. 1.351 variant, trigger an inflammatory response in the lung characterized by expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and interferon-stimulated genes. scRNA-seq analysis of lung homogenates identified a hyper-inflammatory monocyte profile. Using intravital antibody labeling, we demonstrate that MA-SARS-CoV-2 infection leads to increases in circulating monocytes and an influx of CD45+ cells into the lung parenchyma that is dominated by monocyte-derived cells. We utilize this model to demonstrate that mechanistically, CCR2 signaling promotes infiltration of classical monocytes into the lung and expansion of monocyte-derived cells. Parenchymal monocyte-derived cells appear to play a protective role against MA-SARS-CoV-2, as mice lacking CCR2 showed higher viral loads in the lungs, increased lung viral dissemination, and elevated inflammatory cytokine responses. These studies have identified a CCR2-monocyte axis that is critical for promoting viral control and restricting inflammation within the respiratory tract during SARS-CoV-2 infection.