Hydroelectrolytic Disorder in COVID-19 patients: Evidence Supporting the Involvement of Subfornical Organ and Paraventricular Nucleus of the Hypothalamus. Academic Article uri icon


  • Multiple neurological problems have been reported in coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) patients because severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) likely spreads to the central nervous system (CNS) via olfactory nerves or through the subarachnoid space along olfactory nerves into the brain's cerebrospinal fluid and then into the brain's interstitial space. We hypothesize that SARS-CoV-2 enters the subfornical organ (SFO) through the above routes and the circulating blood since circumventricular organs (CVOs) such as the SFO lack the blood-brain barrier, and infection of the SFO causes dysfunction of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and supraoptic nucleus (SON), leading to hydroelectrolytic disorder. SARS-CoV-2 can readily enter SFO-PVN-SON neurons because these neurons express angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 receptors and proteolytic viral activators, which likely leads to neurodegeneration or neuroinflammation in these regions. Considering the pivotal role of SFO-PVN-SON circuitry in modulating hydroelectrolyte balance, SARS-CoV-2 infection in these regions could disrupt the neuroendocrine control of hydromineral homeostasis. This review proposes mechanisms by which SARS-CoV-2 infection of the SFO-PVN-SON pathway leads to hydroelectrolytic disorder in COVID-19 patients.

published proceedings

  • Neurosci Biobehav Rev

altmetric score

  • 1.75

author list (cited authors)

  • de Melo, I. S., Sabino-Silva, R., Cunha, T. M., Goulart, L. R., Reis, W. L., Jardim, A., Shetty, A. K., & de Castro, O. W.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • de Melo, Igor Santana||Sabino-Silva, Robinson||Cunha, ThĂșlio Marquez||Goulart, Luiz Ricardo||Reis, Wagner Luis||Jardim, Ana Carolina Gomes||Shetty, Ashok K||de Castro, Olagide Wagner

publication date

  • January 2021