Autoantibody profiles assessment in individuals with persistent olfactory impairment following SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Publication date: Feb 06, 2024

Olfactory impairment, particularly hyposmia and anosmia, has emerged as a distinctive early symptom of SARS-CoV-2. Drawing on the historical association of autoimmune diseases with olfactory function, this study delves into the connections between COVID-19, autoimmunity, and persistent olfactory dysfunctions, focusing on individuals experiencing long-lasting smell disorders (3-18 months post-SARS-CoV-2 infection). The study comprised 36 Long Covid patients with persistent olfactory dysfunctions, alongside two control groups. Olfactory functionality was assessed using the Sniffin’ Sticks extended test. Non-invasive olfactory mucosa brushing and nasal secretions were processed for nasal samples, while serum samples were obtained through peripheral venous sampling. A panel of autoantibodies, including Immunocirculating Complexes, ANA, ENA, and AECA, was investigated in serum and brush supernatant samples. Contrary to expectations, the absence of traditional autoantibodies challenges the proposed autoimmune etiology of Long Covid-associated olfactory dysfunction. However, the presence and potential pathogenic role of AECA suggest viral cytopathic and inflammatory involvement in specific anatomical districts. One hypothesis explores the impact of inflammation and cytokine release induced by the viral infection, altering neuronal signaling and contributing to persistent hyposmia. This research contributes to our understanding of the complex relationships between autoimmunity, olfactory impairment, and COVID-19. The absence of classical autoantibodies challenges prevailing theories, while the prominence of AECA hints at unique viral-induced pathogenic mechanisms. By unraveling these complexities, this study enhances our comprehension of post-acute sequelae, offering valuable perspectives on immune-mediated responses in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Concepts Keywords
Classical AECA
Drawing Autoantibody
Immunocirculating COVID-19
Invasive Inflammation
Mucosa Long Covid


Type Source Name
disease MESH olfactory impairment
disease MESH SARS-CoV-2 infection
pathway REACTOME SARS-CoV-2 Infection
disease IDO symptom
disease MESH autoimmune diseases
disease MESH autoimmunity
disease MESH Long Covid
disease MESH etiology
disease MESH inflammation
disease MESH viral infection
disease MESH sequelae

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