The researchers suggested that the coronavirus, in some cases, can directly affect brain tissue. With severe complications, this can lead to encephalitis or Guillain-Barré syndrome.
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can have devastating effects on brain cells, according to a new study. In some cases, he “captures” them, using the capabilities of cells to copy himself. At the same time, it reduces the number of synapses – connections between nerve cells, harming a person’s cognitive abilities.
A study by the Oxford Immunology Network suggests that the coronavirus has been linked to various forms of brain damage, from inflammation to brain disease. They can cause confusion, memory changes and other consequences. However, scientists did not assume that the virus could invade brain tissue.
The virus enters brain cells through the ACE2 receptor located on the surface of the cell membrane. This receptor is mainly expressed in lung cells, which explains why coronavirus often causes pneumonia. However, scientists have found that a small amount of ACE2 in the brain still allows SARS-CoV-2 to penetrate into nerve tissues and cause pathological changes.
In addition, scientists, as manifestations of COVID-19, described several cases of encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), as well as autoimmune reactions – immune cells attack healthy cells, perceiving them as foreign. This leads to muscle weakness and, in severe cases, paralysis.