This article was originally published here
Mol Neurobiol. 2021 Jan 13. doi: 10.1007/s12035-020-02245-1. Online ahead of print.
The recent outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 infections that causes coronavirus-induced disease of 2019 (COVID-19) is the defining and unprecedented global health crisis of our time in both the scale and magnitude. Although the respiratory tract is the primary target of SARS-CoV-2, accumulating evidence suggests that the virus may also invade both the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS) leading to numerous neurological issues including some serious complications such as seizures, encephalitis, and loss of consciousness. Here, we present a comprehensive review of the currently known role of SARS-CoV-2 and identify all the neurological problems reported among the COVID-19 case reports throughout the world. The virus might gain entry into the CNS either through the trans-synaptic route via the olfactory neurons or through the damaged endothelium in the brain microvasculature using the ACE2 receptor potentiated by neuropilin-1 (NRP-1). The most critical of all symptoms appear to be the spontaneous loss of breathing in some COVID-19 patients. This might be indicative of a dysfunction within the cardiopulmonary regulatory centers in the brainstem. These pioneering studies, thus, lay a strong foundation for more in-depth basic and clinical research required to confirm the role of SARS-CoV-2 infection in neurodegeneration of critical brain regulatory centers.