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Study describes how COVID-19 damages the brain

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  • Study describes how COVID-19 damages the brain

    13 AUGUST 2022
    A study shows how SARS-COV-2 infects brain cells called astrocytes, causing structural changes in the brain. Infection with SARS-CoV-2 can cause brain alterations and neurocognitive dysfunction, particularly in long COVID-19 syndrome, but the underlying mechanisms are elusive.

    Daniel Martins-de-Souza and colleagues used MRI to compare brain structure in 81 study participants recovering from a mild COVID-19 infection and 81 healthy individuals.

    The authors found that the former group exhibited reduced cortical thickness, which was correlated with cognitive impairments and symptoms such as anxiety and depression.

    The authors analyzed brain samples from 26 people who had died of COVID-19, finding that samples from five of these individuals exhibited tissue damage.

    Further analysis of damaged brain samples revealed that astrocytes, which are brain cells that sustain neuronal metabolism, were particularly likely to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 and that the virus enters these cells through the NRP1 receptor.

    Once infected, astrocytes exhibited altered levels of metabolites used to fuel neurons and neurotransmitter production, and the infected cells secreted neurotoxic molecules. According to the authors, the findings uncover structural changes observed in the brains of people with COVID-19.

  • #2
    SARS-CoV-2 infects brain astrocytes of COVID-19 patients and impairs neuronal viability