Although COVID-19 affects mainly lungs with a hyperactive and imbalanced immune response, gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms such as diarrhea and neuropathic pains have been described as well in patients with COVID-19. Studies indicate that gut-lung axis maintains host homeostasis and disease development with the association of immune system, and gut microbiota is involved in the COVID-19 severity in patients with extrapulmonary conditions. Gut microbiota dysbiosis impairs the gut permeability resulting in translocation of gut microbes and their metabolites into the circulatory system and induce systemic inflammation which, in turn, can affect distal organs such as the brain. Moreover, gut microbiota maintains the availability of tryptophan for kynurenine pathway, which is important for both central nervous and gastrointestinal system in regulating inflammation. SARS-CoV-2 infection disturbs the gut microbiota and leads to immune dysfunction with generalized inflammation. It has been known that cytokines and microbial products crossing the blood-brain barrier induce the neuroinflammation, which contributes to the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases including neuropathies. Therefore, we believe that both gut-lung and gut-brain axes are involved in COVID-19 severity and extrapulmonary complications. Furthermore, gut microbial dysbiosis could be the reason of the neurologic complications seen in severe COVID-19 patients with the association of dysbiosis-related neuroinflammation. This review will provide valuable insights into the role of gut microbiota dysbiosis and dysbiosis-related inflammation on the neuropathy in COVID-19 patients and the disease severity.
Keywords: COVID-19; gut microbiota dysbiosis; gut–brain axis; gut–lung axis; inflammation; neuropathy.
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