SARS-CoV-2 causes brain inflammation and induces Lewy body formation in macaques
Ingrid H.C.H.M. Philippens,
Kinga P. Boszormenyi,
Jacqueline A. Wubben,
Zahra C Fagrouch,
Nikki van Driel,
Amber Q. Mayenburg,
Ronald E Bontrop,
Willy M Bogers,
Lioe-Fee de Geus-Oei,
Jan A.M. Langermans,
Marieke A Stammes,
Babs E Verstrepen,
Ernst J Verschoor
Posted 23 Feb 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.02.23.432474
Posted 23 Feb 2021
SARS-CoV-2 may cause acute respiratory disease, but the infection can also initiate neurological symptoms. Here we show that SARS-CoV-2 infection causes brain inflammation in the macaque model. An increased metabolic activity in the pituitary gland of two macaques was observed by longitudinal positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT). Post-mortem analysis demonstrated infiltration of T-cells and activated microglia in the brain, and viral RNA was detected in brain tissues from one animal. We observed Lewy bodies in brains of all rhesus macaques. These data emphasize the virus' capability to induce neuropathology in this nonhuman primate model for SARS-CoV-2 infection. As in humans, Lewy body formation is an indication for the development of Parkinson's disease, this data represents a warning for potential long-term neurological effects after SARS-CoV-2 infection.
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