Elucidating the neuropathologic mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 infection

Mar Pacheco-Herrero, Luis O Soto-Rojas, Charles Harrington, Yazmin M. Flores Martinez, Marcos M Villegas-Rojas, Alfredo M. León-Aguilar, Paola A Martínez-Gómez, B. Berenice Campa-Córdoba, Ricardo Apátiga-Pérez, Carolin N. Corniel-Taveras, Jesabelle de J. Dominguez-García, Victor Manuel Blanco-Alvarez, José Luna-Muñoz* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
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The current pandemic caused by the new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has become a public health emergency. To date, March 1, 2021, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused about 114 million accumulated cases and 2.53 million deaths worldwide. Previous pieces of evidence suggest that SARS-CoV-2 may affect the central nervous system (CNS) and cause neurological symptoms in COVID-19 patients. It is also known that angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2), the primary receptor for SARS-CoV-2 infection, is expressed in different brain areas and cell types. Thus, it is hypothesized that infection by this virus could generate or exacerbate neuropathological alterations. However, the molecular mechanisms that link COVID-19 disease and nerve damage are unclear. In this review, we describe the routes of SARS-CoV-2 invasion into the central nervous system. We also analyze the neuropathologic mechanisms underlying this viral infection, and their potential relationship with the neurological manifestations described in patients with COVID-19, and the appearance or exacerbation of some neurodegenerative diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Article number660087
Number of pages19
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Early online date12 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

We want to express our gratitude to the Union Medical University Clinic, Dominican Republic, for their support and collaboration in the development of this research project. We also want to express our gratitude to the Mexican families who have donated the brain of their loved ones affected with Alzheimer's disease and made our research possible. This work is dedicated to the memory of Professor Dr. José Raúl Mena López†.


  • SARS-CoV-2
  • storm cytokine syndrome
  • neuroinflammation
  • blood-brain barrier
  • neurological alterations
  • Alzheimer’s disease


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