The pandemic coronavirus travels between the brain and lung via the vagus nerve. This was discovered by an Italian study published in the ‘Journal of Neurology’, the result of a collaboration between pathologists, neurologists and resuscitators of the Department of Health Sciences of the State University of Milan, the ‘Aldo Ravelli’ Research Center and Asst Santi Paolo and Carlo of the Lombard capital. “The presence of the Sars-CoV-2 virus – announced by UniMi and the hospital of the Saints – has been documented not only” in the lung and “in the brain areas of breath control, but also, for the first time, its path between lung and brain along the vagus nerve. Also known as pneumogastric nerve or XII pair of cranial nerves “, the vagus” controls various bodily functions, including respiratory functions, through the innervation of lung tissue, particularly at the level of the bronchi ” The work was possible thanks to “an important interdisciplinary collaboration that characterizes the San Paolo university campus”, underline the university and the social and health care company. “The tissues taken from two patients who died from severe forms of Covid-19 were examined and the data were compared with those taken from two subjects who died from other diseases, but without Covid-19”. Gaetano Bulfamante, director of the chair of Pathological Anatomy and Medical Genetics, first author of the article, reports that “microscope examinations document the presence of damaged neurons containing the virus particularly concentrated in the bulb or medulla oblongata. At the same time we observed a remarkable activation. of glial cells, which indicates an inflammatory response linked to the infection. The data of extreme interest – the expert points out – is the presence of the Sars-CoV-2 virus in the vagus nerve fibers that connect the bulb to the lung “.” The brain areas of the bulb where we found the greatest alterations are those that contain the respiration control nuclei and a dense network of nerve cells known as reticular formation – highlights Tommaso Bocci, researcher of the Neurological clinic – We had hypothesized a damage at the level of the formation reticular in the bulb in a previous study published a few weeks ago, which docum entered an abnormal function of the reticular bulbar formation, and these anatomopathological data give an anatomical confirmation of this “. “Since the first serious cases of Covid-19 – recalls Davide Chiumello, director of Reanimation – we observed respiratory alterations that were not justified only by the alterations due to pneumonia. The patients presented breathing pauses followed by repeated breathing, but which in any case altered the transport of oxygen through the lungs. Our research also documents the presence of the virus in the vagus nerve and demonstrates a new way of spreading the virus along the ‘thread’ of nerve fibers that connects the brain with the lung, adding an important piece to the mosaic of the pathophysiology and of this disease “.
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