ACE2 expression in human dorsal root ganglion sensory neurons: implications for SARS-CoV-2 virus-induced neurological effects
Pradipta R Ray,
Claudio Esteves Tatsui,
Megan L Uhelski,
Patrick M. Dougherty,
Theodore J Price
Posted 29 May 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.28.122374 (published DOI: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000002051)
Posted 29 May 2020
SARS-CoV-2 has created a global crisis. COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, is characterized by pneumonia, respiratory distress and hypercoagulation and is often fatal1. An early sign of infection is loss of smell, taste and chemesthesis - loss of chemical sensation2. Other neurological effects of the disease have been described, but not explained3,4. We show that human dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons express the SARS-CoV-2 receptor5,6, ACE2. ACE2 mRNA is expressed by a subset of nociceptors that express MRGPRD mRNA suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 may gain access to the nervous system through entry into neurons that form free-nerve endings at the outer-most layers of skin and luminal organs. Therefore, sensory neurons are a potential target for SARS-CoV-2 invasion of the nervous system. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
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