COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), has become a global pandemic. It dramatically affects people's health and daily life. Neurological complications are increasingly documented for patients with COVID-19. However, the effect of COVID-19 on the brain is less studied, and existing quantitative neuroimaging analyses of COVID-19 were mainly based on the univariate voxel-based morphometry analysis (VBM) that requires corrections for a large number of tests for statistical significance, multivariate approaches that can reduce the number of tests to be corrected have not been applied to study COVID-19 effect on the brain yet. In this study, we leveraged source-based morphometry (SBM) analysis, a multivariate extension of VBM, to identify changes derived from computed tomography scans in covarying gray matter volume patterns underlying COVID-19 in 120 neurological patients (including 58 cases with COVID-19 and 62 patients without COVID-19 matched for age, gender and diseases). SBM identified that lower gray matter volume (GMV) in superior/medial/middle frontal gyri was significantly associated with a higher level of disability (modified Rankin Scale) at both discharge and six months follow-up phases even when controlling for cerebrovascular diseases. GMV in superior/medial/middle frontal gyri was also significantly reduced in patients receiving oxygen therapy compared to patients not receiving oxygen therapy. Patients with fever presented significant GMV reduction in inferior/middle temporal gyri and fusiform gyrus compared to patients without fever. Patients with agitation showed GMV reduction in superior/medial/middle frontal gyri compared to patients without agitation. Patients with COVID-19 showed no significant GMV differences from patients without COVID-19 in any brain region. Results suggest that COVID-19 may affect the frontal-temporal network in a secondary manner through fever or lack of oxygen.
Alterations of frontal-temporal gray matter volume associate with clinical measures of older adults with COVID-19 / Duan, K.; Premi, E.; Pilotto, A.; Cristillo, V.; Benussi, A.; Libri, I.; Giunta, M.; Bockholt, H. J.; Liu, J.; Campora, R.; Pezzini, A.; Gasparotti, R.; Magoni, M.; Padovani, A.; Calhoun, V. D.. - In: NEUROBIOLOGY OF STRESS. - ISSN 2352-2895. - 14:(2021), p. 100326. [10.1016/j.ynstr.2021.100326]