Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Brainstem Dysfunction in SARS-COV2 Infection Can Be a Potential Cause of Respiratory Distress

Version 1 : Received: 17 April 2020 / Approved: 19 April 2020 / Online: 19 April 2020 (05:37:30 CEST)

How to cite: Machado, C.; Gutierrez, J.V. Brainstem Dysfunction in SARS-COV2 Infection Can Be a Potential Cause of Respiratory Distress. Preprints 2020, 2020040330 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202004.0330.v1). Machado, C.; Gutierrez, J.V. Brainstem Dysfunction in SARS-COV2 Infection Can Be a Potential Cause of Respiratory Distress. Preprints 2020, 2020040330 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202004.0330.v1).

Abstract

Covid-19 pandemic has captivated scientists to investigate if this new disease can affect the central nervous system (CNS). The most challenging symptoms of Covid-19 are related to respiratory distress, and most patients admitted in intensive care units cannot breathe by their own. Therefore, a crucial question is if respiratory distress can be partially explained by the CNS affection. SARS-Cov-2 is a beta-coronavirus that shares high similarities with SARS-CoV. The infection of SARS‐CoV has been reported in the brains from both patients and experimental animals, where the brainstem was heavily infected. Those coronaviruses have been able to invade the brainstem via a synapse‐connected route to the medullary respiratory center, where the infected regions included the nucleus of the solitary tract and nucleus ambiguous. The vagal afferent nerves from receptors in the lung communicate with the medulla and pons respiratory control centers to coordinate inspiration and expiration. This suggests that neuroinvasion of SARS‐CoV‐2 might play a role in the acute respiratory failure of Covid-19. Therefore, acute respiratory distress in Covid-19 can be partially explained by brainstem dysfunction, suggesting the needs of more specific and aggressive treatments with the direct participation of neurologists and neurointensivists.

Subject Areas

SARS-CoV-2 (CoV-2); COVID-19; coronavirus; pandemic; respiratory distress; brainstem; respiratory center

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