“Introduction of spike proteins to in vitro models of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) showed significant changes to barrier properties. Key to our findings is the demonstration that S1 promotes loss of barrier integrity in an advanced 3D microfluidic model of the human BBB, a platform that more closely resembles the physiological conditions at this CNS interface. Evidence provided suggests that the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins 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.”

Buzhdygan, T.P., DeOre, B.J., 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.” Neurobiology of Disease 146 (11 October 2020): 105131. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096999612030406X.