Marcus Buggert, MSc, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet
Soo Aleman, MD, PhD, Associate professor, Department of Infectious Diseases, Karolinska Institutet
A project using advanced technologies such as transcriptomics and integrated single-cell sequencing to investigate if altered immune activation or exhaustion of specific components of the immune system in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) are hallmarks of NeuroLongCOVID. Protein biomarkers associated with reduced glucose uptake in the brain will also be measured in both NeuroLongCOVID CSF and blood.
Persistent neurological symptoms are commonly experienced by a significant number of LongCOVID patients (here referred to as NeuroLongCOVID). These symptoms include brain fog, fatigue, headaches, and anxiety. Additionally, cognitive impairments like memory loss, difficulty concentrating, attention deficits, and executive function impairments are also frequently reported by NeuroLongCOVID patients.
Cerebrospinal fluid flows around the brain and spinal cord – making it a very important fluid to analyze when trying to understand disease symptoms that impact neurological and cognitive symptoms. The project team has extensive experience studying T cell activity and other components of the immune response in COVID-19. They will draw from this work perform a series of immune and biomarker analyzes on CSF and blood collected from NeuroLongCOVID patients. These include searching for proteins associated with reduced glucose uptake. That is because one of the main features of Alzheimer’s disease is impairment of brain energy. This hypometabolism is associated with decreased glucose uptake in the brain, suggesting that a similar phenomenon could also occur in individuals with NeuroLongCovid.