SARS-Cov-2: The effects of COVID-19 on Parkinson’s Disease and the Gut Microbiome
M. Heather Greenlee
Anosmia, encephalopathy, and seizures are some of the more severe symptoms of COVID-19 which is caused by SARS-Cov-2; COVID-19 has an important impact on Parkinson’s Disease as well as other neurodegenerative diseases. There is evidence that coronaviruses are neurotrophic and SARS-Cov-2 was present in the brain tissue and CSF in autopsies of people who ultimately died of COVID-19. There is a measurable increased in pro-inflammatory cytokines, called a cytokine storm, from patients with COVID-19 that leads to potential immunologic changes to gut endothelium as well as dysfunction of the blood brain barrier. A pro-inflammatory state follows closely with α-synuclein dysfunction and accumulation as Lewy bodies which helps the development and progression of neurodegeneration diseases like Parkinson’s Disease. Some viral infections, and other possible factors like genetics and organophosphate insecticides, or other unknown causes may be linked to increases in α-synuclein dysfunction or dopaminergic loss of neurons in the substantia nigra which are both delineated traits of Parkinson’s Disease.