Tuesday, 08 February 2022 11:57

SARS-Cov-2 can invade the brain

Using brain capillary endothelial cells from induced pluripotent stem cells of deceased Covid-19 patients, a team of researchers from Hamburg, Kiel, Würzburg, Vienna, and the United States has shown that SARS-CoV-2 can enter the brain across the blood-brain barrier, leading to increased interferon signaling.

For this purpose, the scientists generated capillary endothelial cells of the brain from induced pluripotent stem cells of deceased persons, infected them with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and sequenced mRNA.  In their model, they demonstrated that the virus can actively replicate in the cells and be transported transcellular across the blood-brain barrier into the brain.

They observed that genes responsible for the innate immune response and the type I interferon response were significantly upregulated. In contrast, genes regulating phosphorus-dependent metabolic and ATP-generating signaling pathways were significantly downregulated.

Original publication:
Krasemann, S., Haferkamp, U., Pfefferle, S., et al. (2022). The blood-brain barrier is dysregulated in COVID-19 and serves as a CNS entry route for SARS-CoV-2. Stem Cell Reports 17, February 8, 2022.

Source and further information: