The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein alters barrier function in 2D static and 3D microfluidic in vitro models of the human blood–brain barrier
AuthorBuzhdygan, Tetyana P.
DeOre, Brandon J.
Galie, Peter A.
GroupCenter for Substance Abuse Research (Temple University)
DepartmentPathology and Laboratory Medicine
Cerebral vascular biology
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/242
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractAs researchers across the globe have focused their attention on understanding SARS-CoV-2, the picture that is emerging is that of a virus that has serious effects on the vasculature in multiple organ systems including the cerebral vasculature. Observed effects on the central nervous system includes neurological symptoms (headache, nausea, dizziness), fatal microclot formation and in rare cases encephalitis. However, our understanding of how the virus causes these mild to severe neurological symptoms and how the cerebral vasculature is impacted remains unclear. Thus, the results presented in this report explored whether deleterious outcomes from the SARS-COV-2 viral spike protein on primary human brain microvascular endothelial cells (hBMVECs) could be observed. First, using postmortem brain tissue, we show that the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 or ACE2 (a known binding target for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein), is expressed throughout various caliber vessels in the frontal cortex. Additionally, ACE2 was also detectable in primary human brain microvascular endothelial (hBMVEC) maintained under cell culture conditions. Analysis for cell viability revealed that neither the S1, S2 or a truncated form of the S1 containing only the RBD had minimal effects on hBMVEC viability within a 48hr exposure window. However, when the viral spike proteins were introduced into model systems that recapitulate the essential features of the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB), breach to the barrier was evident in various degrees depending on the spike protein subunit tested. Key to our findings is the demonstration that S1 promotes loss of barrier integrity in an advanced 3D microfluid model of the human BBB, a platform that most closely resembles the human physiological conditions at this CNS interface. Subsequent analysis also showed the ability for SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins to trigger a pro-inflammatory response on brain endothelial cells that may contribute to an altered state of BBB function. Together, these results are the first to show the direct impact that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein could have on brain endothelial cells; thereby offering a plausible explanation for the neurological consequences seen in COVID-19 patients.
CitationBuzhdygan TP, DeOre BJ, Baldwin-Leclair A. et al. The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein alters barrier function in 2D static and 3D microfluidic in vitro models of the human blood–brain barrier. bioRxiv doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.06.15.150912
Citation to related workbioRxiv
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