Research suggests potential therapeutic targets for COVID-19-related neurological pathologies

In a latest research printed within the journal Molecular & Mobile Proteomics, researchers analyzed the proteins in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples obtained from African inexperienced monkeys and rhesus macaques contaminated with extreme acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2 to know the neurological manifestations of coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19).

Research: Cerebrospinal Fluid Protein Markers Point out Neuro-Injury in SARS-CoV-2-Contaminated Nonhuman Primates. Picture Credit score: DOERS / Shutterstock


The manifestations of SARS-CoV-2 infections vary from asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic to extreme respiratory infections resulting in pneumonia, lung harm, and even dying. Nonetheless, a rising physique of proof means that scientific outcomes of COVID-19 are usually not restricted to the respiratory system, neurological signs, together with dizziness, anosmia, dysgeusia, and complications within the early levels, and seizures, delirium, and meningoencephalitis in additional extreme circumstances, have been noticed.

Whereas extra continual neurological problems have been related to extreme COVID-19 circumstances, cognitive impairment has additionally been noticed in gentle circumstances. Using mass spectrometry in investigating the proteins in CSF has confirmed to be an environment friendly technique for understanding the mechanisms of neurodegenerative issues. Cerebrospinal fluid is a perfect pattern selection since acquiring it’s comparatively much less dangerous and invasive than biopsies of the mind. It accommodates the proteins secreted by all of the areas and cell varieties of the central nervous system (CNS), eliminating the problem of sampling bias.

In regards to the research

Within the current research, the researchers used CSF samples from two non-human primate fashions — African inexperienced monkeys and rhesus macaques — contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 to conduct mass spectrometric evaluation of the CSF proteins to know the neurologic results of COVID-19. The non-human primates have been contaminated with the 2019-nCoV/USA-WA1/2020 pressure of SARS-CoV-2 through aerosol publicity or inoculation, and nasal swabs have been examined for SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein to substantiate an infection institution.

Two African inexperienced monkeys and two rhesus macaques have been used as age-matched controls, and a unfavorable SARS-CoV-2 take a look at for all of the animals was ensured earlier than the graduation of the research. Complete blood and aseptic CSF have been obtained from all of the animals after being contaminated with SARS-CoV-2.

The CSF samples have been subjected to protein extraction, digestion with trypsin, peptide enrichment, and strong-cation change chromatography fractionation to organize the samples for mass spectrometry. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry acquisition of the samples was adopted by quantifying and figuring out the CSF proteins. The dysregulated proteins have been mapped to the human mind, and the diseased pathways have been recognized and analyzed.

Moreover, sections of the cerebellum, mind stem, and basal ganglia have been analyzed utilizing immunohistochemistry, whereas further sections of the CNS, such because the temporal, occipital, parietal, and frontal lobes and higher, decrease, intermediate, and center lobes of the lungs have been used to quantify the CNS and pulmonary pathologies in non-human primates contaminated with SARS-CoV-2. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) have been additionally carried out to investigate the plasma matrix metalloproteinase-2.


The outcomes reported that the animals exhibited very low ranges of pulmonary pathology, however the CNS pathology ranges have been reasonable to extreme. As well as, there have been substantial variations within the CSF proteome of the contaminated animals and their uninfected controls, with the modifications similar to an abundance of bronchial virus within the early levels of the an infection and a change within the secretion of CNS components indicating neuropathy related to the SARS-CoV-2 an infection.

Moreover, the scattered distribution of the info from the contaminated animals in comparison with the uninfected controls advised that the CSF proteome modifications and the host’s response to the viral an infection have been heterogeneous. Furthermore, the dysregulated proteins within the CSF have been discovered to be enriched preferentially in pathways related to hemostasis, human neurodegenerative illness, and innate pathways that would affect the inflammatory response following COVID-19. Mapping of the dysregulated proteins utilizing the Human Mind Protein Atlas additionally confirmed that these proteins have been enriched within the areas of the mind that exhibit harm often after COVID-19.


Total, the outcomes advised that the modifications within the CSF proteins detected within the non-human primate fashions contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 have been linked to biochemical and useful pathways related to innate immunity, thrombus formation, mobile infiltration, and progressive neurological situations, and these pathways may probably be used as therapeutic targets to scale back or forestall the neurological outcomes of COVID-19.

Journal reference:

  • Maity, S., Mayer, M. G., Shu, Q., Linh, H., Bao, D., Blair, R. V., He, Y., Lyon, C. J., Hu, T. Y., Fischer, T., & Fan, J. (2023). Cerebrospinal Fluid Protein Markers Point out Neuro-Injury in SARS-CoV-2-Contaminated Non-human Primates. Molecular & Mobile Proteomics, 22(4), 100523.

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