Home Health and Fitness COVID-19 Can Cause Brain Cells To Fuse – Leading to Chronic “Long COVID” Neurological Symptoms

COVID-19 Can Cause Brain Cells To Fuse – Leading to Chronic “Long COVID” Neurological Symptoms

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neuron fusion

Scientists have found that viruses like SARS-CoV-2 can cause brain cells to fuse, resulting in chronic neurological symptoms. This process of neurons either starting to fire en masse or shutting down completely provides a new perspective on the long-term effects of viral infections on the brain, and may apply to other viruses that infect the nervous system. There isCredits: Author

Researchers have found viruses that:[{” attribute=””>SARS-CoV-2 can cause brain cells to fuse, initiating malfunctions that lead to chronic neurological symptoms.

Scientists at The University of Queensland have discovered viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 can cause brain cells to fuse, initiating malfunctions that lead to chronic neurological symptoms.

Professor Massimo Hilliard and Dr. Ramon Martinez-Marmol from the Queensland Brain Institute have explored how viruses alter the function of the nervous system.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been detected in the brains of people with ‘long COVID’ months after their initial infection.

Fused Neurons Expressing the COVID-19 Spike Protein

Image of fused neurons (yellow) expressing Spike S fusogen from the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the human receptor hACE2. Credit: The Authors

“We discovered COVID-19 causes neurons to undergo a cell fusion process, which has not been seen before,” Professor Hilliard said.

“After neuronal infection with SARS-CoV-2, the spike S protein becomes present in neurons, and once neurons fuse, they don’t die. They either start firing synchronously, or they stop functioning altogether.”

As an analogy, Professor Hilliard likened the role of neurons to that of wires connecting switches to the lights in a kitchen and a bathroom.

“Once fusion takes place, each switch either turns on both the kitchen and bathroom lights at the same time, or neither of them,” he said.

“It’s bad news for the two independent circuits.”

10 fps movie. Frames are captured every 30 minutes. Images were recorded 24 hours after he transfected hippocampal neurons with p15 and GFP. Each frame represents a maximum intensity projection, with her GFP intensity adjusted to facilitate visualization of newly emerging her GFP-positive neurons.Credits: Author

This finding provides a potential explanation for the persistent neurological effects following viral infection.

“The current understanding of what happens when a virus invades the brain has two outcomes: cell death or inflammation,” said Dr. Martinez Marmol.

“But we showed a third possible outcome: neurofusion.”

Dr. Martinez Marmol said many viruses not only cause cell fusion in other tissues, but also infect the nervous system and may be causing the same problem there.

“These viruses include HIV, rabies, Japanese encephalitis, measles, herpes simplex virus and Zika virus,” he said.

“Our study reveals a novel mechanism of neurological events that occur during viral infection.

“This may be a major cause of neurological disease and clinical manifestations, but we don’t know yet.”

The researchers thank Professor Lars Itner and Associate Professor Yazi Ke of Macquarie University, Associate Professor Giuseppe Baristrelli of the University of Helsinki, and Associate Professor Kirsty Short and Professor Frederic Meunier of the University of Queensland for their collaboration. .

This research scientific progress.

Reference: “SARS-CoV-2 Infection and Viral Fusion Factors Cause Neuronal and Glial Fusions that Impair Neuronal Activity” Ramón Martínez Marmol, Rosina Giordano Santini, Eva Kaurich, Ann Na Cho, Magdalena Puzibilla, MD Alahuzzaman Riyad, Emilia Robinson, Ken Yi Chu, Rumelo Amor, Frédéric A. Meunier, Giuseppe Baristrelli, Kirsty R. Short, Yazie D. Khe, Lars M. Itner , Massimo A. Hilliard, 7 June 2023, scientific progress.
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.adg2248

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