COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection is a public health emergency. COVID-19 typically exhibits respiratory illness. Unexpectedly, emerging clinical reports indicate that neurological symptoms continue to rise, suggesting detrimental effects of SARS-CoV-2 on the central nervous system (CNS). Here, we show that a Düsseldorf isolate of SARS-CoV-2 enters 3D human brain organoids within 2 days of exposure. We identified that SARS-CoV-2 preferably targets neurons of brain organoids. Imaging neurons of organoids reveal that SARS-CoV-2 exposure is associated with altered distribution of Tau from axons to soma, hyperphosphorylation, and apparent neuronal death. Our studies, therefore, provide initial insights into the potential neurotoxic effect of SARS-CoV-2 and emphasize that brain organoids could model CNS pathologies of COVID-19.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; Tau pathology; brain organoids; cell death; neurons.
© 2020 The Authors. Published under the terms of the CC BY NC ND 4.0 license.