Covid-19 may lead to Parkinson’s disease

It can increase brain degeneration risks

Covid-19 may lead to Parkinson’s disease by increasing brain degeneration risks and loss of nerve-cell Photo: Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz on Unsplash
Covid-19 may lead to Parkinson’s disease by increasing brain degeneration risks and loss of nerve-cell Photo: Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz on Unsplash

As per the US study, Covid-19 is associated with the chance of developing Parkinson’s disease. This new finding is based on past evidence that shows viruses enable neurons or brain cells to be more susceptible to death or severe brain degeneration. 

The SARS-CoV-2 virus triggered the Covid-19 pandemic. As stated by a study, it can increase the brain degeneration risks seen in Parkinson’s disease. 

According to a publication of new research in Movement Disorders, a reputed journal, it has been found that the novel Coronavirus is efficient enough to make the brain of the mouse more susceptible to a toxin that influences the loss of nerve-cell as observed in Parkinson’s disease.

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The impact of Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is rare and impacts 2% of people, having more than 55-years of age. So, there is nothing to panic about the increase of risk, said Thomas Jefferson University’s director, Richard Smeyne, to the journalists of Business Standard.

However, learning how the virus affects the brain will help prepare for the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in the long run.

Viruses can cause neuron loss

A previous study stated that viruses could develop neurons that are very susceptible to death or damage. 

In the study, the practitioners saw that the H1N1 influenza-infected mice in the 2009 pandemic flu were more prone to a toxin, MPTP, which is known for inducing some of the intrinsic traits of the Parkinson’s ailment. This disease is primarily about neuron loss that leads to increased inflammation and stimulates the release of the chemical dopamine in the brain regions, like the basal ganglia, which is a critical part responsible for human movement.

Later, human-oriented studies showed that Parkinson’s disease development risk was doubled by Influenza within ten years after its initial infection.

Test on mice

At present, mice engineered genetically by the researchers to express the human ACE-2 receptor are being put to use. ACE-2 receptor is what the SARS-CoV-2 virus puts to use for gaining access to the cells in the airways. SARS-CoV-2 was used for infecting these mice and was allowed to recover (as per the Business Standard).

After a month of recovery, one mice group was injected with MPTP’s low dose, which will not usually cause any neuron loss. Next, saline was given to the control group. Finally, after two weeks, the brains of those animals were examined.

Result of the test

According to the researchers, the infection of Covid-19 alone did not affect the dopaminergic neurons inside the basal ganglia. But the mice that were given MPTP after recovering from the infection showcased neuron loss like in Parkinson’s disease.

The enhanced sensitivity after the infection of Covid-19 was similar to the influenza effect. It suggests that both viruses can influence the development of Parkinson’s disease.

Smeyne told Business Standard that the virus itself is not responsible for killing the neurons. Still, it makes them susceptible to the second hit like a bacterium, toxin, or a genetic mutation. However, there is no surety that the same things will take place in humans.

The pandemic is not yet over, and no one knows how powerful it can become in the upcoming days. So, it is better to continue with the safety protocols till everything is sorted out.


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