BREAKING! French COVID-19 Research Reveals That The Hypothalamus Region Of The Brain Is Also A Target For The SARS-Cov-2 Coronavirus
: A new French research has revealed that the hypothalamus region of the brain is a target area for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus as the researchers have also discovered that the region is rich with ACE-2 receptors and also TMPRSS2 receptors and that the SARS-CoV-2 brain invasion is through multiple routes, along the fact that sex hormones and metabolic diseases influence brain susceptibility. https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.06.08.139329v1
The research finding which were published on a preprint server which has to be peer-reviewed was conducted by a team of neurosurgeons, pathologists, genomic specialists and virologists.
With increasing evidence coming to light associating SARS-CoV-2 infection with a wide range of neurological symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, loss of consciousness, seizures, encephalitis etc. as well as anosmia or ageusia in more than two-thirds of patients , the researchers wanted to explore as to how the coronavirus was affecting the brain and CNS or Central Nervous System.
Additionally, it was foudn that a large number of COVID-19 patients with severe disease do not respond well to artificial ventilation or display a phenomenon known as "silent hypoxia", where low blood oxygen levels fail to trigger the appropriate physiological response, suggesting an extra-pulmonary component to respiratory dysfunction, and cardiorespiratory function and fluid homeostasis are themselves subject to central nervous system (CNS) control. However, despite emerging reports of the post-mortem detection of the virus in the cerebrospinal fluid or brain parenchyma of patients, very little is known so far about how and under what circumstances SARS-CoV-2 infects the brain or nervous system.
The researchers said that while the possibility of CNS infection has been largely underestimated due to the common view that angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the only confirmed cellular receptor for SARS-CoV-2 so far, is absent or expressed only at very low levels in the brain and that too exclusively in vascular cells the majority of these studies have focused on the cerebral cortex, ignoring the fact that other regions of the brain, notably the hypothalamus, are rich in ACE2, at least in animals.
Interestingly, the hypothalamus is also directly linked to other parts of the CNS involved in functions affected in COVID-19 patients, including several brainstem nuclei that control fluid homeostasis, cardiac function and respiration, as well as regions implicated in the perception or integration of odor and taste such as the olfactory bulbs and presumptive vomeronasal neurons, the entorhinal and piriform cortices, the insula, amygdala, and thalamus.
This is of particular interest as the loss of the sense of smell or taste in the majority of COVID-19 patients suggests that the virus could invade the brain through sensory receptors.
Through autopsy studies of the brains of deceased COVID-19 patients and the various MRI scans of various COVID-19 patients displaying various neurological manifestations, the researchers found that the hypothalamus region was indeed rich with the ACE-2 and TMPRSS2 receptors that were the usual targets of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus coupled with the fact that the virus could have multiple pathways to reach the target region of the brains ie through the olfactory route, peripheral nerves, hormones and even through the bloodstream.
It should be noted that the hypothalamus plays a significant role in the endocrine system. It is responsible for maintaining your body’s internal balance, which is known as homeostasis. To do this, the hypothalamus helps stimulate or inhibit many of your body’s key processes, including: Heart rate and blood pressure, Body temperature, Fluid and electrolyte balance, including thirst, Appetite and body weight, Glandular secretions of the stomach and intestines, Production of substances that influence the pituitary gland to release hormones and Sleep cycles. The hypothalamus is the link between the endocrine and nervous systems.
The results of the study also has implications not on just infected patients but also on patients who have recovered as there are bound to be residual quantities of the virus in the recovered patients as all current COVID-19 RT-PCR tests are not sensitive enough to pick up small traces of the virus. (Most are not able to detect the presence of the virus at less than 100 copies per ml). What damage or medical effects these residual viruses could do is not known nor studied yet.
For more COVID-19 research
, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.