Purpose: We evaluated brain metabolic dysfunctions and associations with neurological and biological parameters in acute, subacute and chronic COVID-19 phases to provide deeper insights into the pathophysiology of the disease. Methods: Twenty-six patients with neurological symptoms (neuro-COVID-19) and [18F]FDG-PET were included. Seven patients were acute (< 1 month (m) after onset), 12 subacute (4 ≥ 1-m, 4 ≥ 2-m and 4 ≥ 3-m) and 7 with neuro-post-COVID-19 (3 ≥ 5-m and 4 ≥ 7–9-m). One patient was evaluated longitudinally (acute and 5-m). Brain hypo- and hypermetabolism were analysed at single-subject and group levels. Correlations between severity/extent of brain hypo- and hypermetabolism and biological (oxygen saturation and C-reactive protein) and clinical variables (global cognition and Body Mass Index) were assessed. Results: The “fronto-insular cortex” emerged as the hypometabolic hallmark of neuro-COVID-19. Acute patients showed the most severe hypometabolism affecting several cortical regions. Three-m and 5-m patients showed a progressive reduction of hypometabolism, with limited frontal clusters. After 7–9 months, no brain hypometabolism was detected. The patient evaluated longitudinally showed a diffuse brain hypometabolism in the acute phase, almost recovered after 5 months. Brain hypometabolism correlated with cognitive dysfunction, low blood saturation and high inflammatory status. Hypermetabolism in the brainstem, cerebellum, hippocampus and amygdala persisted over time and correlated with inflammation status. Conclusion: Synergistic effects of systemic virus-mediated inflammation and transient hypoxia yield a dysfunction of the fronto-insular cortex, a signature of CNS involvement in neuro-COVID-19. This brain dysfunction is likely to be transient and almost reversible. The long-lasting brain hypermetabolism seems to reflect persistent inflammation processes.

Time-dependent recovery of brain hypometabolism in neuro-COVID-19 patients

Martini A. L.;Carli G.;Perani D.;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Purpose: We evaluated brain metabolic dysfunctions and associations with neurological and biological parameters in acute, subacute and chronic COVID-19 phases to provide deeper insights into the pathophysiology of the disease. Methods: Twenty-six patients with neurological symptoms (neuro-COVID-19) and [18F]FDG-PET were included. Seven patients were acute (< 1 month (m) after onset), 12 subacute (4 ≥ 1-m, 4 ≥ 2-m and 4 ≥ 3-m) and 7 with neuro-post-COVID-19 (3 ≥ 5-m and 4 ≥ 7–9-m). One patient was evaluated longitudinally (acute and 5-m). Brain hypo- and hypermetabolism were analysed at single-subject and group levels. Correlations between severity/extent of brain hypo- and hypermetabolism and biological (oxygen saturation and C-reactive protein) and clinical variables (global cognition and Body Mass Index) were assessed. Results: The “fronto-insular cortex” emerged as the hypometabolic hallmark of neuro-COVID-19. Acute patients showed the most severe hypometabolism affecting several cortical regions. Three-m and 5-m patients showed a progressive reduction of hypometabolism, with limited frontal clusters. After 7–9 months, no brain hypometabolism was detected. The patient evaluated longitudinally showed a diffuse brain hypometabolism in the acute phase, almost recovered after 5 months. Brain hypometabolism correlated with cognitive dysfunction, low blood saturation and high inflammatory status. Hypermetabolism in the brainstem, cerebellum, hippocampus and amygdala persisted over time and correlated with inflammation status. Conclusion: Synergistic effects of systemic virus-mediated inflammation and transient hypoxia yield a dysfunction of the fronto-insular cortex, a signature of CNS involvement in neuro-COVID-19. This brain dysfunction is likely to be transient and almost reversible. The long-lasting brain hypermetabolism seems to reflect persistent inflammation processes.
Hypermetabolism
Hypometabolism
Neuro-COVID
Recovery
[
18
F]FDG
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11768/132861
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