Neuroscientist Joseph Gleason and colleagues at the University of California, San Diego have found a likely way for the coronavirus to enter the brain, writes EurekAlert.
Scientists have presented an improved model of a brain organoid, a set that has been enriched with pericytes, specialized cells that surround blood vessels. The assembloids contained many types of brain cells and additional pericytes so that specialists could see the potential pathway for coronavirus infection in brain cells.
First, the researchers found that SARS-CoV-2 infected pericytes and then caused widespread damage. It turned out that astrocytes were the main target of “secondary” infection.
Gleason believes that blood vessels are a very likely route for coronavirus to enter the brain, through which the infection first infects pericytes and then spreads to other types of brain cells.
At the same time, infected pericytes can cause inflammation of blood vessels and, as a result, cause thrombosis, stroke, and other complications that often manifest in infected patients with coronavirus infection.
Earlier, researchers at the University of Padua and Imperial College London reported that the presence of antibodies remains quite significant even nine months after SARS-CoV-2 infection, regardless of whether the infection was manifest or asymptomatic. Scientists tested more than 85% of residents in the Italian commune of Vaud to detect SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection in February and March 2020. Antibody tests were performed in May and November 2020.