Mechanisms of COVID-19-induced cerebellitis

Curr Med Res Opin. 2022 Dec;38(12):2109-2118. doi: 10.1080/03007995.2022.2141963. Epub 2022 Nov 14.


The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV2 has raised several important health concerns, not least increased mortality and morbidity. SARS-CoV2 can infect the central nervous system via hematogenous or transneuronal routes, acting through different receptors including ACE2, DPP4, and neuropilin 1 and cause several issues, including the focus here, cerebellitis. The cerebellum is an essential part of the CNS located adjacent to the brainstem with a complex micro and macroscopic structure. The cerebellum plays several physiological roles, such as coordination, cognition, and executive functioning. Damage to the cerebellum can lead to incoordination and ataxia. In our narrative review, we searched different databases from 2021 to 2022 with the keywords cerebellum and COVID-19; 247 studies were identified and reviewed, focusing on clinical studies and excluding non-clinical studies; 56 studies were finally included for analysis. SARS-CoV2 infection of the cerebellum can be seen to be assessed through many methods such as MRI, PET, CT, postmortem studies, and histological findings. These methodological studies have demonstrated that cerebellar infection with COVID-19 can bring about several sequelae: thrombosis, microbleed, hemorrhage, stroke, autoantibody production, ataxia, and widespread inflammation in the cerebellum. Such central effects are likely to exacerbate the known multiorgan effects of SARS-CoV2 and should also be considered as part of disease prognosis.

Keywords: COVID-19; Cerebellum; SARS-CoV2; ataxia; stroke.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ataxia / etiology
  • COVID-19* / complications
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • RNA, Viral
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • RNA, Viral