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Int J Mol Sci ; 22(15)2021 Jul 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1344938


Adaptation of organisms to stressors is coordinated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA), which involves glucocorticoids (GCs) and glucocorticoid receptors (GRs). Although the effects of GCs are well characterized, their impact on brain adaptation to hypoxia/ischemia is still understudied. The brain is not only the most susceptible to hypoxic injury, but also vulnerable to GC-induced damage, which makes studying the mechanisms of brain hypoxic tolerance and resistance to stress-related elevation of GCs of great importance. Cross-talk between the molecular mechanisms activated in neuronal cells by hypoxia and GCs provides a platform for developing the most effective and safe means for prevention and treatment of hypoxia-induced brain damage, including hypoxic pre- and post-conditioning. Taking into account that hypoxia- and GC-induced reprogramming significantly affects the development of organisms during embryogenesis, studies of the effects of prenatal and neonatal hypoxia on health in later life are of particular interest. This mini review discusses the accumulated data on the dynamics of the HPA activation in injurious and non-injurious hypoxia, the role of the brain GRs in these processes, interaction of GCs and hypoxia-inducible factor HIF-1, as well as cross-talk between GC and hypoxic signaling. It also identifies underdeveloped areas and suggests directions for further prospective studies.

Disease Resistance , Glucocorticoids/metabolism , Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System/metabolism , Hypoxia, Brain/metabolism , Ischemic Preconditioning , Pituitary-Adrenal System/metabolism , Signal Transduction , Animals , Humans , Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System/pathology , Hypoxia, Brain/prevention & control , Pituitary-Adrenal System/pathology
Med Sci Monit ; 27: e930886, 2021 Jan 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1045272


Alterations in brain functioning, especially in regions associated with cognition, can result from infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and are predicted to result in various psychiatric diseases. Recent studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2 infection and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can directly or indirectly affect the central nervous system (CNS). Therefore, diseases associated with sequelae of COVID-19, or 'long COVID', also include serious long-term mental and cognitive changes, including the condition recently termed 'brain fog'. Hypoxia in the microenvironment of select brain areas may benefit the reproductive capacity of the virus. It is possible that in areas of cerebral hypoxia, neuronal cell energy metabolism may become compromised after integration of the viral genome, resulting in mitochondrial dysfunction. Because of their need for constant high metabolism, cerebral tissues require an immediate and constant supply of oxygen. In hypoxic conditions, neurons with the highest oxygen demand become dysfunctional. The resulting cognitive impairment benefits viral spread, as infected individuals exhibit behaviors that reduce protection against infection. The effects of compromised mitochondrial function may also be an evolutionary advantage for SARS-CoV-2 in terms of host interaction. A high viral load in patients with COVID-19 that involves the CNS results in the compromise of neurons with high-level energy metabolism. Therefore, we propose that selective neuronal mitochondrial targeting in SARS-CoV-2 infection affects cognitive processes to induce 'brain fog' and results in behavioral changes that favor viral propagation. Cognitive changes associated with COVID-19 will have increasing significance for patient diagnosis, prognosis, and long-term care.

COVID-19/metabolism , Cognitive Dysfunction/metabolism , Health Behavior , Hypoxia, Brain/metabolism , Mitochondria/metabolism , Neurons/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19/psychology , COVID-19/transmission , Cognitive Dysfunction/physiopathology , Cognitive Dysfunction/psychology , Energy Metabolism , Humans , Hypoxia, Brain/physiopathology , Hypoxia, Brain/psychology , Microbial Viability , Viral Load , Virus Replication , Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome