Covid-19 can infect neurons

The new coronavirus has the ability to infect neurons in affected patients, with certain consequences. These results were confirmed by an international study, which saw the participation of teams from Yale University (USA), the Brain Institute (Sorbonne University / Inserm / AP-HP / CNRS) and the Pitié-Salpêtrière AP-HP hospital in France. Published Jan. 12 in The Journal of Experimental Medicine, the study links loss of the senses of taste, smell and neurological damage due to SARS-CoV-2.

Scientists mention, in some cases, loss of consciousness and stroke. “If traces of RNA from the virus have been found in the brains of patients who died of Covid-19 and viral proteins in certain cells of their olfactory bulb, the ability of the virus to infect brain cells and the possible consequences n ‘had not been demonstrated until then, ”indicates a press release from National Institute of Health and Medical Research in France.

“3D brain cell cultures, a mouse model of SARS-CoV-2 infection and brain tissue from deceased Covid-19 patients” have been able to establish some links, showing that virus cells can “enter neurons ”and“ use their components to multiply, thus causing metabolic changes in infected cells, without destroying them ”. The neighboring cells of infected neurons, for their part, “are deprived of oxygen and end up dying”.

INSERM adds that in the brains of deceased patients, “the virus was found in cortical neurons, as well as pathological damage associated with the infection such as ischemic vascular accidents”. In addition, these results reveal “an important remodeling of the cerebral vascular network in the infected regions of the brain”. A line of study which “opens the way for a link between the penetration of the virus into neurons observed both in cultures of brain cells and post-mortem brain tissues, and hypoxia and ischemic accidents observed in the brain of the sick ”.

Also, these results suggest that “the neurological symptoms observed in Covid-19 could be a consequence of this direct attack on the central nervous system”.

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