News | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | March 12, 2021

COVID-19 Blood Vessel Damage May Cause Brain Fog and Other Long-hauler Symptoms

Lack of oxygen, increased inflammation affects serotonin levels in brain

Interactions between capillary function, inflammation, hypoxia, and neurotransmission. The expression of ACE2 and other SARS‐CoV‐2 entry factors on parenchymal cells and observations of infected cells in biopsy material hold important clues to understand COVID‐19‐related organ damage. COVID-19 Blood Vessel Damage May Cause Brain Fog and Other Long-hauler Symptoms

Interactions between capillary function, inflammation, hypoxia, and neurotransmission. The expression of ACE2 and other SARS‐CoV‐2 entry factors on parenchymal cells and observations of infected cells in biopsy material hold important clues to understand COVID‐19‐related organ damage. Find more figures and read the full study.


March 12, 2021 — A new review suggests that blood vessel damage and impaired oxygen delivery related to COVID-19 play a role in mood changes and cognitive difficulties that people with the disease face during illness and recovery. The review was published in Physiological Reports in February.[1] The article offers insights into the reason why some ling-hauler COVID patients have persistent symptoms months after their infections. While the the "brain fog" and cognitive issues are most evident in many of the long-hauler patients, there are concerns over of physiological issues, including the impact on the heart.

COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS CoV-2 virus, may cause a wide range of symptoms ranging from lack of taste and smell, muscle weakness and fatigue to acute respiratory distress syndrome and multiple organ failure. Changes in blood flow and microscopic clots in the body’s smallest blood vessels can also affect people with the disease. “While most symptoms disappear over the weeks and months following the infection, the extent of long-term COVID-19 [complications] remains unclear,” the authors of the review wrote.

One cluster of symptoms people with COVID-19 have experienced — even after active infection has passed — is cognitive or mood impairment. This may include memory problems, depression, anxiety and the inability to focus or concentrate, which is called “brain fog.” Previous research has found that people with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease show “widespread cerebral microvascular flow disturbances.” The current review explains that in people with COVID-19, a shortened blood flow transit time in the capillaries limits the amount of oxygen that can be delivered to the lungs and brain.

Low oxygen levels and the increase in inflammatory cytokines — proteins involved in immune system signaling — that occur with COVID-19 can also affect serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter the brain produces to regulate mood. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to anxiety and lowered mood. Oxygen is crucial for the production of serotonin, and research suggests cytokines reduce serotonin levels. “These mechanisms could affect cognitive functions and quality of life for COVID-19 patients,” the reviewers wrote.

Other findings discussed in the review include:

   • The recovery of COVID-19 patients may rely on the restoration of normal blood flow through the body’s smallest blood vessels.
   • Development of new blood vessels in COVID-19 may form shunts for blood delivery through the lungs and contribute to poor blood oxygenation.

Read the full article, “SARS CoV‐2 related microvascular damage and symptoms during and after COVID‐19: Consequences of capillary transit‐time changes, tissue hypoxia and inflammation,” published in Physiological Reports.

 

Related COVID-19 Cardiology Content:

The Long-term Cardiovascular Impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 Changes Properties Blood Cells

VIDEO: Antithrombotic Prophylaxis in COVID-19 Patients — Interview with Behnood Bikdeli M.D.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the Heart—Is Heart Failure the Next Chapter?

PHOTO GALLERY: How COVID-19 Appears on Medical Imaging

Heart Damage Found in More Than Half of COVID-19 Patients Discharged From Hospitals

Overview of Randomized Trials of Antithrombotic Therapy for COVID-19 Patients 

COVID-19 Can Kill Heart Cells and Interfere With Contraction

 

Reference:

1. Leif Østergaard. SARS CoV‐2 related microvascular damage and symptoms during and after COVID‐19: Consequences of capillary transit‐time changes, tissue hypoxia and inflammation. Physiology Reports. First published online 1 February 2021. https://doi.org/10.14814/phy2.14726.

 


Related Content

News | Coronavirus (COVID-19)

November 25, 2022 — A large study found that myocarditis after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination was rare but higher in younger ...

Home November 25, 2022
Home
News | Coronavirus (COVID-19)

November 10, 2022 — Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s (UMSOM) Center for Precision Disease ...

Home November 10, 2022
Home
News | Coronavirus (COVID-19)

November 3, 2022 — In the past several years, myocarditis has been of public interest because of cases associated with ...

Home November 03, 2022
Home
News | Coronavirus (COVID-19)

November 2, 2022 — A comprehensive review and meta-analysis of published research confirm that young adults (40 years ...

Home November 02, 2022
Home
News | Coronavirus (COVID-19)

October 27, 2022 — New data analysis from the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai found that deaths from heart attacks ...

Home October 27, 2022
Home
News | Coronavirus (COVID-19)

October 17, 2022 — A national study suggests that risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as age, smoking and ...

Home October 17, 2022
Home
News | Coronavirus (COVID-19)

September 26, 2022 — Kawasaki disease (KD) is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children in developed ...

Home September 26, 2022
Home
News | Coronavirus (COVID-19)

September 7, 2022 — A new paper in European Heart Journal - Digital Health, published by Oxford University Press ...

Home September 07, 2022
Home
News | Coronavirus (COVID-19)

August 26, 2022 — COVID mRNA vaccines are associated with a decreased risk of death in patients with heart failure ...

Home August 26, 2022
Home
News | Coronavirus (COVID-19)

August 23, 2022 — In a detailed analysis of nearly 43 million people, ages 13 and older, who received at least one dose ...

Home August 23, 2022
Home
Subscribe Now