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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.

PUBMED; 2021.
Preprint in English | PUBMED | ID: ppcovidwho-292364


Infection with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is associated with onset of neurological and psychiatric symptoms during and after the acute phase of illness <sup>1-4</sup> . Acute SARS-CoV-2 disease (COVID-19) presents with deficits of memory, attention, movement coordination, and mood. The mechanisms of these central nervous system symptoms remain largely unknown. In an established hamster model of intranasal infection with SARS-CoV-2 <sup>5</sup> , and patients deceased from COVID-19, we report a lack of viral neuroinvasion despite aberrant BBB permeability, microglial activation, and brain expression of interleukin (IL)-1beta and IL-6, especially within the hippocampus and the inferior olivary nucleus of the medulla, when compared with non-COVID control hamsters and humans who died from other infections, cardiovascular disease, uremia or trauma. In the hippocampus dentate gyrus of both COVID-19 hamsters and humans, fewer cells expressed doublecortin, a marker of neuroblasts and immature neurons.Despite absence of viral neurotropism, we find SARS-CoV-2-induced inflammation, and hypoxia in humans, affect brain regions essential for fine motor function, learning, memory, and emotional responses, and result in loss of adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Neuroinflammation could affect cognition and behaviour via disruption of brain vasculature integrity, neurotransmission, and neurogenesis, acute effects that may persist in COVID-19 survivors with long-COVID symptoms.