SARS-CoV-2 Spike Proteins Disrupt the Blood-Brain Barrier, Potentially Raising Risk of Neurological Damage in COVID-19 Patients : Health

The research work appeared in Neurobiology of Disease (Volume 146, December 2020, 105131)


• SARS-CoV-2 is known to bind to ACE2. ACE2 is upregulated in the human brain vasculature of hypertensive and dementia cases.

• The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein does not acutely affect the viability of brain endothelial cells.

• Blood-brain barrier function is negatively affected by SARS-CoV-2 spike protein subunits.

• Brain endothelial cells show a distinct pro-inflammatory response when exposed to various SARS-CoV-2 spike protein subunits.

• Mechanistically, barrier disruption may be explained by induction of members of the MMP family of proteins.

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