Severe Neuro-COVID is associated with peripheral immune signatures, autoimmunity and neurodegeneration: a prospective cross-sectional study


Senior Member
Growing evidence links COVID-19 with acute and long-term neurological dysfunction. However, the pathophysiological mechanisms resulting in central nervous system involvement remain unclear, posing both diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. Here we show outcomes of a cross-sectional clinical study (NCT04472013) including clinical and imaging data and corresponding multidimensional characterization of immune mediators in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma of patients belonging to different Neuro-COVID severity classes. The most prominent signs of severe Neuro-COVID are blood-brain barrier (BBB) impairment, elevated microglia activation markers and a polyclonal B cell response targeting self-antigens and non-self-antigens. COVID-19 patients show decreased regional brain volumes associating with specific CSF parameters, however, COVID-19 patients characterized by plasma cytokine storm are presenting with a non-inflammatory CSF profile. Post-acute COVID-19 syndrome strongly associates with a distinctive set of CSF and plasma mediators. Collectively, we identify several potentially actionable targets to prevent or intervene with the neurological consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
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