Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, leads to respiratory symptoms that can be fatal. However, neurological symptoms have also been observed in some patients. The cause of these complications is currently unknown.
In this paper, were use human pluripotent stem cell-derived brain organoids to examine SARS-CoV-2 neurotropism. Was found expression of viral receptor ACE2 in mature choroid plexus cells expressing abundant lipoproteins, but not in neurons or other cell types.
Were challenged organoids with SARS-CoV-2 spike pseudovirus and live virus to demonstrate viral tropism for choroid plexus epithelial cells, but little to no infection of neurons or glia.
Were found that infected cells are apolipoprotein and ACE2 expressing cells of the choroid plexus epithelial barrier and, finally, it was shown that infection with SARS-CoV-2 damages the choroid plexus epithelium, leading to leakage across this important barrier that normally prevents entry of pathogens, immune cells and cytokines into cerebrospinal fluid and the brain.