Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes a range of extra-respiratory signs and symptoms. One such manifestation is delirium, an acute confusional state occurring in 60-70% of severe SARS-CoV-2 cases. Delirium is also a common clinical syndrome following planned orthopedic surgery. This investigation initially explored the underlying role of metabolism in delirium-susceptibility in this setting. Metabolomics profiles of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood taken prior to surgery found significant concentration differences of several amino acids, acylcarnitines and polyamines were observed in delirium-prone patients. Phenethylamine (PEA) concentrations in delirium-prone patients was significantly lower in CSF than in blood, whilst in age- and gender-matched controls the opposite was observed (adjusted p values: 1.8×10-6 (control) and 1.788×10-10 (delirium)). PEA is metabolised by monoamine oxidase B (MAOB), a putative enzyme target for the treatment of Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease and depression. Our computational structural comparisons of MAOB and angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) 2 found high similarity, specifically within the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. MAOB structural alignment to ACE2 was 51% overall, but this was over 95% in the ACE2-spike protein binding region. Thus, it is possible that the spike protein interacts with MAOB on a molecular level. A previously published metabolomic dataset of control subjects and patients with either mild or severe COVID-19 was then analysed. Major concentration differences in some metabolites attributed to altered MAO activity were detected. Therefore, our hypothesis is that the SARS-CoV-2 influences MAOB activity, which is one potential cause for the many observed neurological and platelet based complications of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Collection : COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv