제목SARS-CoV-2 Infection of Microglia Elicits Proinflammatory Activation and Apoptotic Cell Death2022-05-06 10:16
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Accumulating evidence suggests that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection causes various neurological symptoms in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The most dominant immune cells in the brain are microglia. Yet, the relationship between neurological manifestations, neuroinflammation, and host immune response of microglia to SARS-CoV-2 has not been well characterized. Here, we reported that SARS-CoV-2 can directly infect human microglia, eliciting M1-like proinflammatory responses, followed by cytopathic effects. Specifically, SARS-CoV-2 infected human microglial clone 3 (HMC3), leading to inflammatory activation and cell death. RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis also revealed that endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and immune responses were induced in the early, and apoptotic processes in the late phases of viral infection. SARS-CoV-2-infected HMC3 showed the M1 phenotype and produced proinflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), but not the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. After this proinflammatory activation, SARS-CoV-2 infection promoted both intrinsic and extrinsic death receptor-mediated apoptosis in HMC3. Using K18-hACE2 transgenic mice, murine microglia were also infected by intranasal inoculation of SARS-CoV-2. This infection induced the acute production of proinflammatory microglial IL-6 and TNF-α and provoked a chronic loss of microglia. Our findings suggest that microglia are potential mediators of SARS-CoV-2-induced neurological problems and, consequently, can be targets of therapeutic strategies against neurological diseases in patients with COVID-19.

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