SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein Accumulation in the Skull-Meninges-Brain Axis: Potential Implications for Long-Term Neurological Complications in post-COVID-19

The study “SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein Accumulation in the Skull-Meninges-Brain Axis: Potential Implications for Long-Term Neurological Complications in post-COVID-19” explores the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein on the central nervous system, particularly in the context of long-term neurological complications associated with COVID-19.

Key Findings:

  1. Accumulation of SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein: The study found that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein accumulates in the skull marrow, brain meninges, and brain parenchyma. This was observed both in mouse models and human post-mortem tissues. The presence of the spike protein alone caused cell death in the brain, highlighting its direct effect on brain tissue.
  2. Long-Term Presence in Humans: Spike protein was detected in the skull of deceased individuals long after their COVID-19 infection, suggesting that its persistence might contribute to long-term neurological symptoms.
  3. Pathways and Proteomic Changes: The spike protein was associated with neutrophil-related pathways and dysregulation of proteins involved in the PI3K-AKT, complement, and coagulation pathways. This suggests potential molecular mechanisms that could underlie neurological complications in long-COVID patients.
  4. Neurological Symptoms and COVID-19: The study highlights the potential for long-lasting neurological symptoms in COVID-19 survivors, related to the presence and persistence of the spike protein in the central nervous system.
  5. Therapeutic Targets: The findings suggest new therapeutic targets for managing long-term neurological symptoms in COVID-19 patients.

Methodology:

  • The study used mouse models and human post-mortem tissues to investigate the presence and distribution of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
  • Optical tissue clearing and mass spectrometry-based proteomics were employed to analyze protein expression changes in different skull tissues.

Implications:

  • The study provides insights into the mechanisms underlying immediate and long-term consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  • It highlights the potential for long-term neurological complications in COVID-19 patients and suggests new avenues for treatment.

Overall, the study sheds light on how the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein may contribute to neurological complications post-COVID-19, offering a basis for further research and potential therapeutic interventions.

Read More: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2023.04.04.535604v1

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