Curr Med Chem. 2021 May 6. doi: 10.2174/0929867328666210506161543. Online ahead of print.
The new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), can present with neurological symptoms and induce neurological complications. The involvement in both the central and peripheral nervous systems in COVID-19 patients has been associated with direct invasion of the virus and the induction of cytokine storm. This review discussed the pathways for the virus invasion into the nervous system and characterized the SARS-CoV-2 induced cytokine storm. In addition, the mechanisms underlying the immune responses and cytokine storm induction after SARS-CoV-2 infection were also discussed. Although some neurological symptoms are mild and disappear after recovery from infection, some severe neurological complications contribute to the mortality of COVID-19 patients. Therefore, the insight into the cause of SARS-CoV-2 induced cytokine storm in context with neurological complications will formulate the novel management of the disease and further identify new therapeutic targets for COVID-19.