A pilot study to assess blood-brain barrier permeability in long COVID.

Publication date: Mar 23, 2024

The etiology of brain fog associated with long COVID is not clear. Based on some preliminary work, disruption of the blood-brain barrier has been hypothesized, but has not been tested in patients with long COVID. In this case-control pilot study, we evaluated blood-brain barrier permeability in patients with long COVID and subjective memory loss or brain fog. We used 99 m Technetium diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) to measure blood-brain barrier permeability and a telephone assessment (T-cog) to measure cognitive function. The blood-brain barrier permeability was quantified via SPECT standard uptake value (SUV). We assessed the blood-brain barrier permeability in 14 long COVID patients and 10 control participants without subjective cognitive impairment or brain fog. Participants in the two groups were similar in age. The long COVID group had more comorbidities compared to the control group. There was no difference in the SUVs in the long COVID (0. 22 +/- 0. 12) vs the control (0. 17 +/- 0. 04) group. There was no difference in the T-cog results in the two groups either. We found no evidence of a difference in blood-brain permeability in patients with long COVID when compared to controls without a known history of COVID-19 infection. Larger studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Concepts Keywords
99m Blood-brain barrier
Diethylenetriaminepentaacetic Brain fog
Pilot COVID-19
Suvs Long COVID
Tomography Memory loss


Type Source Name
disease MESH long COVID
disease MESH etiology
drug DRUGBANK Pentetic acid
disease MESH cognitive impairment
disease IDO blood
disease IDO history
disease MESH COVID-19
disease MESH infection

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