Small NIH study reveals how immune response triggered by COVID-19 may damage the brain – National Institutes of Health (.gov)
A study from the National Institutes of Health found that antibodies produced by the immune system in response to SARS-CoV-2 infection attacked the cells lining the brain’s blood vessels, leading to inflammation and damage. This inflammation may be the cause of neurological symptoms in patients who have contracted COVID-19.
Dr. Avindra Nath, M.D., clinical director at NINDS and the senior author of the study and his team found that antibodies produced in response to COVID-19 may mistakenly target cells crucial to the blood-brain barrier, causing damage to the cells that keep the blood-brain barrier tight. This can lead to bleeding and clots in the brain and increased risk of stroke.
Dr. Nath and his colleagues found that damage to endothelial cells was likely due to an immune response. This response caused the endothelial cells to express proteins that caused platelets to stick together, causing clots to form and leakage, which in turn caused damage to neurons.
The results suggest that treatments designed to prevent the development of the immune complexes observed in the study could be potential therapies for post-COVID neurological symptoms, including headache, fatigue, loss of taste and smell, sleep problems, and “brain fog”.
The National Institutes of Health is the nation’s medical research agency, conducting basic, clinical, and translational medical research to find cures for common and rare diseases.
For more on this story, please consider these sources:
- Small NIH study reveals how immune response triggered by COVID-19 may damage the brain National Institutes of Health (.gov)
- Possible cause of long COVID ‘brain fog’ revealed – study The Jerusalem Post
- Study: Discovery May Explain COVID Brain Fog, Long COVID Newsmax
- Immune response triggered by COVID-19 damages the brain’s blood vessels to cause neurological complications News-Medical.Net
- New US study helps de-mystify Covid brain fog RFI English