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J Neuroinflammation ; 18(1): 277, 2021 Nov 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1538080


OBJECTIVE: Although COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, all organs can be affected including the brain. To date, specific investigations of brain injury markers (BIM) and endothelial injury markers (EIM) have been limited. Additionally, a male bias in disease severity and mortality after COVID-19 is evident globally. Sex differences in the immune response to COVID-19 may mediate this disparity. We investigated BIM, EIM and inflammatory cytokine/chemokine (CC) levels after COVID-19 and in across sexes. METHODS: Plasma samples from 57 subjects at < 48 h of COVID-19 hospitalization, and 20 matched controls were interrogated for the levels of six BIMs-including GFAP, S100B, Syndecan-1, UCHLI, MAP2 and NSE, two EIMs-including sICAM1 and sVCAM1. Additionally, several cytokines/chemokines were analyzed by multiplex. Statistical and bioinformatics methods were used to measure differences in the marker profiles across (a) COVID-19 vs. controls and (b) men vs. women. RESULTS: Three BIMs: MAP2, NSE and S100B, two EIMs: sICAM1 and sVCAM1 and seven CCs: GRO IL10, sCD40L, IP10, IL1Ra, MCP1 and TNFα were significantly (p < 0.05) elevated in the COVID-19 cohort compared to controls. Bioinformatics analysis reveal a stronger positive association between BIM/CC/EIMs in the COVID-19 cohort. Analysis across sex revealed that several BIMs and CCs including NSE, IL10, IL15 and IL8 were significantly (p < 0.05) higher in men compared to women. Men also expressed a more robust BIM/ EIM/CC association profile compared to women. CONCLUSION: The acute elevation of BIMs, CCs, and EIMs and the robust associations among them at COVID-19 hospitalization are suggestive of brain and endothelial injury. Higher BIM and inflammatory markers in men additionally suggest that men are more susceptible to the risk compared to women.

Brain Injuries/complications , Brain Injuries/pathology , COVID-19/complications , Cytokines/blood , Endothelium/pathology , Inflammation/complications , Inflammation/pathology , Adult , Aged , Biomarkers/blood , Brain Injuries/blood , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Inflammation/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Severity of Illness Index , Sex Characteristics , Sex Factors
J Neurotrauma ; 38(1): 1-43, 2021 01 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066221


The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus attacks multiple organs of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients, including the brain. There are worldwide descriptions of neurological deficits in COVID-19 patients. Central nervous system (CNS) symptoms can be present early in the course of the disease. As many as 55% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients have been reported to have neurological disturbances three months after infection by SARS-CoV-2. The mutability of the SARS-COV-2 virus and its potential to directly affect the CNS highlight the urgency of developing technology to diagnose, manage, and treat brain injury in COVID-19 patients. The pathobiology of CNS infection by SARS-CoV-2 and the associated neurological sequelae of this infection remain poorly understood. In this review, we outline the rationale for the use of blood biomarkers (BBs) for diagnosis of brain injury in COVID-19 patients, the research needed to incorporate their use into clinical practice, and the improvements in patient management and outcomes that can result. BBs of brain injury could potentially provide tools for detection of brain injury in COVID-19 patients. Elevations of BBs have been reported in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood of COVID-19 patients. BB proteins have been analyzed in CSF to detect CNS involvement in patients with infectious diseases, including human immunodeficiency virus and tuberculous meningitis. BBs are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for diagnosis of mild versus moderate traumatic brain injury and have identified brain injury after stroke, cardiac arrest, hypoxia, and epilepsy. BBs, integrated with other diagnostic tools, could enhance understanding of viral mechanisms of brain injury, predict severity of neurological deficits, guide triage of patients and assignment to appropriate medical pathways, and assess efficacy of therapeutic interventions in COVID-19 patients.

Brain Injuries/blood , Brain Injuries/diagnosis , Brain/metabolism , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , Biomarkers/blood , Brain/pathology , Brain Injuries/etiology , COVID-19/complications , Humans , Nervous System Diseases/blood , Nervous System Diseases/diagnosis , Nervous System Diseases/etiology , Prospective Studies , Retrospective Studies