SARS-CoV-2 and the central nervous system: Emerging insights into hemorrhage-associated neurological consequences and therapeutic considerations.
Additional Document Info
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continues to impact our lives by causing widespread illness and death and poses a threat due to the possibility of emerging strains. SARS-CoV-2 targets angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) before entering vital organs of the body, including the brain. Studies have shown systemic inflammation, cellular senescence, and viral toxicity-mediated multi-organ failure occur during infectious periods. However, prognostic investigations suggest that both acute and long-term neurological complications, including predisposition to irreversible neurodegenerative diseases, can be a serious concern for COVID-19 survivors, especially the elderly population. As emerging studies reveal sites of SARS-CoV-2 infection in different parts of the brain, potential causes of chronic lesions including cerebral and deep-brain microbleeds and the likelihood of developing stroke-like pathologies increases, with critical long-term consequences, particularly for individuals with neuropathological and/or age-associated comorbid conditions. Our recent studies linking the blood degradation products to genome instability, leading to cellular senescence and ferroptosis, raise the possibility of similar neurovascular events as a result of SARS-CoV-2 infection. In this review, we discuss the neuropathological consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection in COVID survivors, focusing on possible hemorrhagic damage in brain cells, its association to aging, and the future directions in developing mechanism-guided therapeutic strategies.