Logo MSM

Call: +1.631.470.9640
Mon - Fri 10:00 am - 02:00 pm EST

Contact Us

Logo MSM Logo MSM Logo MSM

25 January 2021: Editorial

Selective Neuronal Mitochondrial Targeting in SARS-CoV-2 Infection Affects Cognitive Processes to Induce ‘Brain Fog’ and Results in Behavioral Changes that Favor Viral Survival

George B. Stefano ABCDEF* , Radek Ptacek ABCDEF , Hana Ptackova ABCDEF , Anders Martin ABCDEF , Richard M. Kream ABCDEF

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.930886

Med Sci Monit 2021; 27:e930886

Abstract

ABSTRACT: Alterations in brain functioning, especially in regions associated with cognition, can result from infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and are predicted to result in various psychiatric diseases. Recent studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2 infection and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can directly or indirectly affect the central nervous system (CNS). Therefore, diseases associated with sequelae of COVID-19, or ‘long COVID’, also include serious long-term mental and cognitive changes, including the condition recently termed ‘brain fog’. Hypoxia in the microenvironment of select brain areas may benefit the reproductive capacity of the virus. It is possible that in areas of cerebral hypoxia, neuronal cell energy metabolism may become compromised after integration of the viral genome, resulting in mitochondrial dysfunction. Because of their need for constant high metabolism, cerebral tissues require an immediate and constant supply of oxygen. In hypoxic conditions, neurons with the highest oxygen demand become dysfunctional. The resulting cognitive impairment benefits viral spread, as infected individuals exhibit behaviors that reduce protection against infection. The effects of compromised mitochondrial function may also be an evolutionary advantage for SARS-CoV-2 in terms of host interaction. A high viral load in patients with COVID-19 that involves the CNS results in the compromise of neurons with high-level energy metabolism. Therefore, we propose that selective neuronal mitochondrial targeting in SARS-CoV-2 infection affects cognitive processes to induce ‘brain fog’ and results in behavioral changes that favor viral propagation. Cognitive changes associated with COVID-19 will have increasing significance for patient diagnosis, prognosis, and long-term care.

Keywords: Hypoxia, Brain, Mitochondria

Conclusions

Recent studies and clinical observations of SARS-CoV-2 infections have yielded insights into the cellular and physiological processes that enhance the ability of the virus to reproduce and spread, including its need for a highly oxygenated microenvironment [28]. Recently, there has been an increased understanding of the possible role of compromised mitochondria in the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Mitochondrial energy metabolism responds immediately to a hypoxic microenvironment, and mitochondria can serve as mobile sentinel organelles that can act together as an energy delivery system [25]. Given the high energy and oxygenation requirements in neural tissue, mitochondria can serve as indicators of early acute neuronal dysfunction. The relationship between cognitive function, mental health, virus susceptibility, and viral infectivity may be a function of CNS viral load, which increases with time in the case of ‘long-term COVID’. The resulting cognitive impairment benefits viral spread, as infected individuals exhibit reduced anti-infection behaviors (Figure 1). The effects of compromised mitochondrial function may also be an evolutionary advantage for SARS-CoV-2 in terms of its interaction with the host. A high viral load in COVID-19 patients that involves the CNS results in the compromise of neurons with high levels of energy metabolism. Therefore, we propose that selective neuronal mitochondrial targeting in SARS-CoV-2 infection affects cognitive processes to induce ‘brain fog’ and results in behavioral changes that favor viral survival and propagation. Cognitive changes associated with COVID-19 will have increasing significance in patient diagnosis, prognosis, and long-term care. Therefore, there will be an increasing need for support for mental health issues related to COVID-19. Long-term therapeutic strategies for COVID-19 should combine pharmacological agents targeting a chronic ischemic neural pro-inflammatory environment with behavioral activities to restore cognitive function [29,30].

References

1. Wang F, Kream RM, Stefano GB: Long-term respiratory and neurological sequelae of COVID-19: Med Sci Monit, 2020; 26; e928996

2. Chen X, Laurent S, Onur OA: A systematic review of neurological symptoms and complications of COVID-19: J Neurol, 2020; 20; 1-11

3. Pezzini A, Padovani A: Lifting the mask on neurological manifestations of COVID-19: Nat Rev Neurol, 2020; 16(11); 636-44

4. Lau KK, Yu WC, Chu CM: Possible central nervous system infection by SARS coronavirus: Emerg Infect Dis, 2004; 10(2); 342-44

5. Tsai LK, Hsieh ST, Chao CC: Neuromuscular disorders in severe acute respiratory syndrome: Arch Neurol, 2004; 61(11); 1669-73

6. Correa-Palacio AF, Hernandez-Huerta D, Gomez-Arnau J: Affective psychosis after COVID-19 infection in a previously healthy patient: A case report: Psychiatry Res, 2020; 290; 113115

7. Chandra PS, Shiva L, Nagendrappa S: COVID 19 related psychosis as an interface of fears, socio-cultural issues and vulnerability – case report of two women from India: Psychiatry Res, 2020; 290; 113136

8. Mawhinney JA, Wilcock C, Haboubi H, Roshanzamir S: Neurotropism of SARS-CoV-2: COVID-19 presenting with an acute manic episode: BMJ Case Rep, 2020; 13(6); e236123

9. Beach SR, Praschan NC, Hogan C: Delirium in COVID-19: A case series and exploration of potential mechanisms for central nervous system involvement: Gen Hosp Psychiatry, 2020; 65; 47-53

10. Epstein D, Andrawis W, Lipsky AM: Anxiety and suicidality in a hospitalized patient with COVID-19 infection: Eur J Case Rep Intern Med, 2020; 7(5); 001651

11. Chen N, Zhou M, Dong X: Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 99 cases of 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan, China: A descriptive study: Lancet, 2020; 395(10223); 507-13

12. Zhang Y, Ma ZF: Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and quality of life among local residents in Liaoning province, China: A cross-sectional study: Int J Environ Res Public Health, 2020; 17(7); 2381

13. Ptacek R, Ptackova H, Martin A, Stefano GB: Psychiatric manifestations of COVID-19 and their social significance: Med Sci Monit, 2020; 26; e930340

14. Croall ID, Hoggard N, Aziz I: Brain fog and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity: Proof of concept brain MRI pilot study: PLoS One, 2020; 15(8); e0238283

15. Calabrese F, Pezzuto F, Fortarezza F: Pulmonary pathology and COVID-19: Lessons from autopsy. The experience of European Pulmonary Pathologists: Virchows Arch, 2020; 477(3); 359-72

16. Tian S, Xiong Y, Liu H: Pathological study of the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through postmortem core biopsies: Mod Pathol, 2020; 33(6); 1007-14

17. Xu Z, Shi L, Wang Y: Pathological findings of COVID-19 associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome: Lancet Respir Med, 2020; 8(4); 420-22

18. Wu KE, Fazal FM, Parker KR: RNA-GPS Predicts SARS-CoV-2 RNA residency to host mitochondria and nucleolus: Cell Syst, 2020; 11(1); 102-108.e3

19. Shenoy S: Coronavirus (Covid-19) sepsis: Revisiting mitochondrial dysfunction in pathogenesis, aging, inflammation, and mortality: Inflamm Res, 2020; 69(11); 1077-85

20. Singh KK, Chaubey G, Chen JY, Suravajhala P: Decoding SARS-CoV-2 hijacking of host mitochondria in COVID-19 pathogenesis: Am J Physiol Cell Physiol, 2020; 319(2); C258-67

21. Stefano GB, Esch T, Kream RM: Potential Immunoregulatory and antiviral/SARS-CoV-2 activities of nitric oxide: Med Sci Monit, 2020; 26; e925679

22. Stefano GB, Esch T, Kream RM: Behaviorally-mediated entrainment of whole-body metabolic processes: Conservation and evolutionary development of mitochondrial respiratory complexes: Med Sci Monit, 2019; 25; 9306-9

23. Hayakawa K, Bruzzese M, Chou SH: Extracellular mitochondria for therapy and diagnosis in acute central nervous system injury: JAMA Neurol, 2018; 75(1); 119-22

24. Nakamura Y, Park JH, Hayakawa K: Therapeutic use of extracellular mitochondria in CNS injury and disease: Exp Neurol, 2020; 324; 113114

25. Esch T, Stefano GB, Ptacek R, Kream RM: Emerging roles of blood-borne intact and respiring mitochondria as bidirectional mediators of pro- and anti-inflammatory processes: Med Sci Monit, 2020; 26; e924337

26. Esch T, Stefano GB: Proinflammation: A common denominator or initiator of different pathophysiological disease processes: Med Sci Monit, 2002; 8(5); HY1-9

27. Esch T, Stefano GB, Fricchione GL, Benson H: The role of stress in neurodegenerative diseases and mental disorders: Neuro Endocrinol Lett, 2002; 23(3); 199-208

28. Tobin MJ, Laghi F, Jubran A: Why COVID-19 silent hypoxemia is baffling to physicians: Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 2020; 202(3); 356-60

29. Huang L, Ma Q, Li Y: Inhibition of microRNA-210 suppresses pro-inflammatory response and reduces acute brain injury of ischemic stroke in mice: Exp Neurol, 2018; 300; 41-50

30. von Arnim CAF, Bartsch T, Jacobs AH: Diagnosis and treatment of cognitive impairment: Z Gerontol Geriatr, 2019; 52(4); 309-15

Coronavirus/Covid 19

15 September 2021 : Editorial

Editorial: Autoantibodies to Components of the Immune System, Including Type 1 Interferons, and the Risk of...

Med Sci Monit In Press; DOI: 10.12659/MSM.934766  

08 September 2021 : Clinical Research

Acceptance of COVID-19 Vaccination and Its Associated Factors Among Cancer Patients Attending the Oncology ...

Med Sci Monit In Press; DOI: 10.12659/MSM.932788  

16 July 2021 : Review article

Silent Hypoxemia in Patients with COVID-19 Pneumonia: A Review

Med Sci Monit In Press; DOI: 10.12659/MSM.930776  

09 July 2021 : Database Analysis

A Simple Clinical Prediction Tool for COVID-19 in Primary Care with Epidemiology: Temperature-Leukocytes-CT...

Med Sci Monit In Press; DOI: 10.12659/MSM.931467  

In Press

16 Sep 2021 : Clinical Research

A Retrospective Evaluation of Operative and Postoperative Outcomes in Patients with Spinal Metastases from ...

Med Sci Monit In Press; DOI: 10.12659/MSM.932995  

15 Sep 2021 : Clinical Research

Polish Medical Air Rescue Interventions Concerning Pregnant Women in Poland: A 10-year Retrospective Analysis

Med Sci Monit In Press; DOI: 10.12659/MSM.933029  

15 Sep 2021 : Editorial

Editorial: Autoantibodies to Components of the Immune System, Including Type 1 Interferons, and the Risk of...

Med Sci Monit In Press; DOI: 10.12659/MSM.934766  

15 Sep 2021 : Clinical Research

A Prospective Single-Center Study of the Effects of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation at 2-Week ...

Med Sci Monit In Press; DOI: 10.12659/MSM.933017  

Most Viewed

20 Mar 2020 : Clinical Research

Social Capital and Sleep Quality in Individuals Who Self-Isolated for 14 Days During the Coronavirus Diseas...

DOI :10.12659/MSM.923921

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e923921

15 Apr 2020 : Clinical Research

Psychological Impact and Coping Strategies of Frontline Medical Staff in Hunan Between January and March 20...

DOI :10.12659/MSM.924171

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e924171

05 May 2020 : Review article

An Evidence Based Perspective on mRNA-SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Development

DOI :10.12659/MSM.924700

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e924700

26 Apr 2020 : Clinical Research

Comparison of Prevalence and Associated Factors of Anxiety and Depression Among People Affected by versus P...

DOI :10.12659/MSM.924609

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e924609

Your Privacy

We use cookies to ensure the functionality of our website, to personalize content and advertising, to provide social media features, and to analyze our traffic. If you allow us to do so, we also inform our social media, advertising and analysis partners about your use of our website, You can decise for yourself which categories you you want to deny or allow. Please note that based on your settings not all functionalities of the site are available. View our privacy policy.

Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750