A new study is published in The nature of communication proposed the most comprehensive to date investigation into the effects of COVID-19 on the brain using primates. The study found that SARS-CoV-2 infection, regardless of the severity of the disease, can lead to neuroinflammation and minor bleeding, which can be the cause of many of the neurological symptoms reported by patients.
The study was conducted by Tracy Fisher of the Tulane National Primate Research Center. Recognizing the potential future need to develop non-human primate models for COVID-19 research, Fisher began in the early stages of the pandemic.
The team’s initial work found that SARS-CoV-2 infections caused microbleeds in the brain. These preliminary findings came so early during the pandemic that non-work-related experts were skeptical. At that time, these neurological symptoms had not yet been detected in the patients.
“You see the pathology, and it’s so clear and so deep,” Fisher said. “I’ve been looking at the central nervous system for decades, so long that you know if something doesn’t seem normal and seems to match the infection.”
Fisher and her team spent an extra year testing these initial findings as other researchers began finding evidence of similar neurological symptoms in humans. Control animals were studied and study protocols were refined to confirm that initially detected changes in the brain were directly related to coronavirus infection.
Along with minor bleeding, the researchers found severe widespread inflammation of the brain and neuronal damage. Fisher said the neurological damage was not related to the severity of the respiratory disease. This means that many animals showed only mild symptoms of COVID-19 but still experienced neurological damage.
The new study also offers a valuable insight into the ongoing debate over whether the neurological effects of COVID-19 are related to broader effects of systemic inflammation or the virus directly affects the brain. Although researchers found small traces of SARS-CoV-2 virus in several parts of the brain, most of the damage was expressed as probable due to recurrent localized hypoxia.
“This was observed in all infected animals, regardless of the severity of the disease, suggesting that decreased oxygen to the brain may be a common complication of infection,” the researchers concluded in the study. “Even a slight but steady decrease in oxygen can contribute to injuries, especially to neurons that seem to have suffered the most insult in this study.”
The findings add to the growing body of evidence COVID-19 in the brain. These studies help shed light on the series acute and chronic neurological symptoms associated with disease, from fatigue and brain fog office mental health problems.
The researchers note that their findings have limitations, especially given that the animals used in the studies were elderly. Thus, it is unclear whether older brains are more susceptible to this type of cerebral vascular damage, and it is still unclear whether this type of neurological damage is reversible. To answer these questions, long-term follow-up studies of long-term patients with COVID will be required.
A new study has been published in The nature of communication.
A new study suggests that COVID-19 may cause inflammation of the brain and minor bleeding
Source link A new study suggests that COVID-19 may cause inflammation of the brain and minor bleeding