Blood-brain barrier function in response to SARS-CoV-2 and its spike protein

Łukasz Suprewicz, Krzysztof Fiedoruk, Agata Czarnowska, Marcin Sadowski, Agnieszka Strzelecka, Peter A. Galie, Paul A. Janmey, Alina Kułakowska, Robert Bucki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The typical manifestation of coronavirus 2 (CoV-2) infection is a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) accompanied by pneumonia (COVID-19). However, SARS-CoV-2 can also affect the brain, causing chronic neurological symptoms, variously known as long, post, post-acute, or persistent COVID-19 condition, and affecting up to 40% of patients. The symptoms (fatigue, dizziness, headache, sleep disorders, malaise, disturbances of memory and mood) usually are mild and resolve spontaneously. However, some patients develop acute and fatal complications, including stroke or encephalopathy. Damage to the brain vessels mediated by the coronavirus spike protein (S-protein) and overactive immune responses have been identified as leading causes of this condition. However, the molecular mechanism by which the virus affects the brain still needs to be fully delineated. In this review article, we focus on interactions between host molecules and S-protein as the mechanism allowing the transit of SARS-CoV-2 through the blood-brain barrier to reach the brain structures. In addition, we discuss the impact of S-protein mutations and the involvement of other cellular factors conditioning the pathophysiology of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Finally, we review current and future COVID-19 treatment options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-25
Number of pages12
JournalNeurologia i Neurochirurgia Polska
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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