The techniques used in the study were praised by S. Andrew Josephson, chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of California, who said, “Understanding whether there is direct viral involvement of the brain is very important.”
Incredible opportunity “timesofindia”، It wouldn’t be totally shocking if SARS-CoV-2 was able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier, which is the structure that surrounds blood vessels in the brain and tries to block foreign substances.
But doctors have so far believed that the neurological effects observed in about half of patients could instead be the result of an abnormal immune response known as a cytokine storm that causes encephalitis – rather than directly invading the virus.
The team in the study found in brain organelles that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is able to infect neurons and then hijack the nerve cell mechanism to make copies of itself.
The team noted the affected cells in turn promoted the death of the surrounding cells by suffocating the oxygen supply.
One of the main arguments against the direct brain invasion theory has been that the brain lacks high levels of a protein called ACE2 that the coronavirus attaches to, and which is found in abundance in other organs such as the lungs.
But the team found that the organelles contained enough ACE2 to facilitate the entry of the virus, and that the proteins were also present in the brain tissues of the deceased patients.
Interestingly, the affected areas did not show signs of penetration of immune cells, such as T cells, which rush to sites of other viruses such as Zika or herpes to kill the infected cells.
This may indicate that the increased immune response known as a cytokine storm, which is responsible for much of the observed damage in the lungs of patients with COVID-19, may not be the main cause of the neurological symptoms.