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1.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(15)2021 Jul 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1335097

ABSTRACT

Different mechanisms were proposed as responsible for COVID-19 neurological symptoms but a clear one has not been established yet. In this work we aimed to study SARS-CoV-2 capacity to infect pediatric human cortical neuronal HCN-2 cells, studying the changes in the transcriptomic profile by next generation sequencing. SARS-CoV-2 was able to replicate in HCN-2 cells, that did not express ACE2, confirmed also with Western blot, and TMPRSS2. Looking for pattern recognition receptor expression, we found the deregulation of scavenger receptors, such as SR-B1, and the downregulation of genes encoding for Nod-like receptors. On the other hand, TLR1, TLR4 and TLR6 encoding for Toll-like receptors (TLRs) were upregulated. We also found the upregulation of genes encoding for ERK, JNK, NF-κB and Caspase 8 in our transcriptomic analysis. Regarding the expression of known receptors for viral RNA, only RIG-1 showed an increased expression; downstream RIG-1, the genes encoding for TRAF3, IKKε and IRF3 were downregulated. We also found the upregulation of genes encoding for chemokines and accordingly we found an increase in cytokine/chemokine levels in the medium. According to our results, it is possible to speculate that additionally to ACE2 and TMPRSS2, also other receptors may interact with SARS-CoV-2 proteins and mediate its entry or pathogenesis in pediatric cortical neurons infected with SARS-CoV-2. In particular, TLRs signaling could be crucial for the neurological involvement related to SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Cerebral Cortex/metabolism , Neurons/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Toll-Like Receptors/metabolism , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , Child , Cytokines/metabolism , Gene Expression Profiling , Gene Expression Regulation , Humans , Neurons/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Signal Transduction/genetics , Toll-Like Receptors/genetics , Virus Replication
2.
Brain ; 144(4): 1263-1276, 2021 05 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1313840

ABSTRACT

During the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, neurological symptoms increasingly moved into the focus of interest. In this prospective cohort study, we assessed neurological and cognitive symptoms in hospitalized coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) patients and aimed to determine their neuronal correlates. Patients with reverse transcription-PCR-confirmed COVID-19 infection who required inpatient treatment primarily because of non-neurological complications were screened between 20 April 2020 and 12 May 2020. Patients (age > 18 years) were included in our cohort when presenting with at least one new neurological symptom (defined as impaired gustation and/or olfaction, performance < 26 points on a Montreal Cognitive Assessment and/or pathological findings on clinical neurological examination). Patients with ≥2 new symptoms were eligible for further diagnostics using comprehensive neuropsychological tests, cerebral MRI and 18fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET as soon as infectivity was no longer present. Exclusion criteria were: premorbid diagnosis of cognitive impairment, neurodegenerative diseases or intensive care unit treatment. Of 41 COVID-19 inpatients screened, 29 patients (65.2 ± 14.4 years; 38% female) in the subacute stage of disease were included in the register. Most frequently, gustation and olfaction were disturbed in 29/29 and 25/29 patients, respectively. Montreal Cognitive Assessment performance was impaired in 18/26 patients (mean score 21.8/30) with emphasis on frontoparietal cognitive functions. This was confirmed by detailed neuropsychological testing in 15 patients. 18FDG PET revealed pathological results in 10/15 patients with predominant frontoparietal hypometabolism. This pattern was confirmed by comparison with a control sample using voxel-wise principal components analysis, which showed a high correlation (R2 = 0.62) with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment performance. Post-mortem examination of one patient revealed white matter microglia activation but no signs of neuroinflammation. Neocortical dysfunction accompanied by cognitive decline was detected in a relevant fraction of patients with subacute COVID-19 initially requiring inpatient treatment. This is of major rehabilitative and socioeconomic relevance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Cerebral Cortex/metabolism , Cognitive Dysfunction/metabolism , Glucose/metabolism , Mental Status and Dementia Tests , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , COVID-19/psychology , Cerebral Cortex/diagnostic imaging , Cognitive Dysfunction/diagnostic imaging , Cognitive Dysfunction/psychology , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods , Male , Middle Aged , Positron-Emission Tomography/methods
3.
Brain ; 144(4): 1263-1276, 2021 05 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1169654

ABSTRACT

During the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, neurological symptoms increasingly moved into the focus of interest. In this prospective cohort study, we assessed neurological and cognitive symptoms in hospitalized coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) patients and aimed to determine their neuronal correlates. Patients with reverse transcription-PCR-confirmed COVID-19 infection who required inpatient treatment primarily because of non-neurological complications were screened between 20 April 2020 and 12 May 2020. Patients (age > 18 years) were included in our cohort when presenting with at least one new neurological symptom (defined as impaired gustation and/or olfaction, performance < 26 points on a Montreal Cognitive Assessment and/or pathological findings on clinical neurological examination). Patients with ≥2 new symptoms were eligible for further diagnostics using comprehensive neuropsychological tests, cerebral MRI and 18fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET as soon as infectivity was no longer present. Exclusion criteria were: premorbid diagnosis of cognitive impairment, neurodegenerative diseases or intensive care unit treatment. Of 41 COVID-19 inpatients screened, 29 patients (65.2 ± 14.4 years; 38% female) in the subacute stage of disease were included in the register. Most frequently, gustation and olfaction were disturbed in 29/29 and 25/29 patients, respectively. Montreal Cognitive Assessment performance was impaired in 18/26 patients (mean score 21.8/30) with emphasis on frontoparietal cognitive functions. This was confirmed by detailed neuropsychological testing in 15 patients. 18FDG PET revealed pathological results in 10/15 patients with predominant frontoparietal hypometabolism. This pattern was confirmed by comparison with a control sample using voxel-wise principal components analysis, which showed a high correlation (R2 = 0.62) with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment performance. Post-mortem examination of one patient revealed white matter microglia activation but no signs of neuroinflammation. Neocortical dysfunction accompanied by cognitive decline was detected in a relevant fraction of patients with subacute COVID-19 initially requiring inpatient treatment. This is of major rehabilitative and socioeconomic relevance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Cerebral Cortex/metabolism , Cognitive Dysfunction/metabolism , Glucose/metabolism , Mental Status and Dementia Tests , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , COVID-19/psychology , Cerebral Cortex/diagnostic imaging , Cognitive Dysfunction/diagnostic imaging , Cognitive Dysfunction/psychology , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods , Male , Middle Aged , Positron-Emission Tomography/methods
4.
J Exp Med ; 218(3)2021 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1024074

ABSTRACT

Although COVID-19 is considered to be primarily a respiratory disease, SARS-CoV-2 affects multiple organ systems including the central nervous system (CNS). Yet, there is no consensus on the consequences of CNS infections. Here, we used three independent approaches to probe the capacity of SARS-CoV-2 to infect the brain. First, using human brain organoids, we observed clear evidence of infection with accompanying metabolic changes in infected and neighboring neurons. However, no evidence for type I interferon responses was detected. We demonstrate that neuronal infection can be prevented by blocking ACE2 with antibodies or by administering cerebrospinal fluid from a COVID-19 patient. Second, using mice overexpressing human ACE2, we demonstrate SARS-CoV-2 neuroinvasion in vivo. Finally, in autopsies from patients who died of COVID-19, we detect SARS-CoV-2 in cortical neurons and note pathological features associated with infection with minimal immune cell infiltrates. These results provide evidence for the neuroinvasive capacity of SARS-CoV-2 and an unexpected consequence of direct infection of neurons by SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Antibodies, Blocking/chemistry , COVID-19 , Cerebral Cortex , Neurons , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/antagonists & inhibitors , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Cerebral Cortex/metabolism , Cerebral Cortex/pathology , Cerebral Cortex/virology , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Humans , Male , Mice , Middle Aged , Neurons/metabolism , Neurons/pathology , Neurons/virology , Organoids/metabolism , Organoids/pathology , Organoids/virology
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