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Case Report

Serum NGF and BDNF in Long-COVID-19 Adolescents: A Pilot Study

1
Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (IBBC-CNR), Department of Sensory Organs, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Roma, Italy
2
Department of Maternal Infantile and Urological Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Roma, Italy
3
Department of Experimental Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Roma, Italy
4
Department of Sensory Organs, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Roma, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Ivan Fan Ngai Hung
Diagnostics 2022, 12(5), 1162; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics12051162
Received: 16 April 2022 / Revised: 2 May 2022 / Accepted: 4 May 2022 / Published: 7 May 2022
(This article belongs to the Section Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease)
COVID-19 (COronaVIrus Disease 19) is an infectious disease also known as an acute respiratory syndrome caused by the SARS-CoV-2. Although in children and adolescents SARS-CoV-2 infection produces mostly mild or moderate symptoms, in a certain percentage of recovered young people a condition of malaise, defined as long-COVID-19, remains. To date, the risk factors for the development of long-COVID-19 are not completely elucidated. Neurotrophins such as NGF (Nerve Growth Factor) and BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) are known to regulate not only neuronal growth, survival and plasticity, but also to influence cardiovascular, immune, and endocrine systems in physiological and/or pathological conditions; to date only a few papers have discussed their potential role in COVID-19. In the present pilot study, we aimed to identify NGF and BDNF changes in the serum of a small cohort of male and female adolescents that contracted the infection during the second wave of the pandemic (between September and October 2020), notably in the absence of available vaccines. Blood withdrawal was carried out when the recruited adolescents tested negative for the SARS-CoV-2 (“post-infected COVID-19”), 30 to 35 days after the last molecular test. According to their COVID-19 related outcomes, the recruited individuals were divided into three groups: asymptomatics, acute symptomatics and symptomatics that over time developed long-COVID-19 symptoms (“future long-COVID-19”). As a control group, we analyzed the serum of age-matched healthy controls that did not contract the infection. Inflammatory biomarkers (TNF-α, TGF-β), MCP-1, IL-1α, IL-2, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12) were also analyzed with the free oxygen radicals’ presence as an oxidative stress index. We showed that NGF serum content was lower in post-infected-COVID-19 individuals when compared to healthy controls; BDNF levels were found to be higher compared to healthy individuals only in post-infected-COVID-19 symptomatic and future long-COVID-19 girls, leaving the BDNF levels unchanged in asymptomatic individuals if compared to controls. Oxidative stress and inflammatory biomarkers were unchanged in male and female adolescents, except for TGF-β that, similarly to BDNF, was higher in post-infected-COVID-19 symptomatic and future long-COVID-19 girls. We predicted that NGF and/or BDNF could be used as early biomarkers of COVID-19 morbidity in adolescents. View Full-Text
Keywords: neurotrophins; NGF; BDNF; adolescents; long-COVID-19; biomarkers; SARS-CoV-2 neurotrophins; NGF; BDNF; adolescents; long-COVID-19; biomarkers; SARS-CoV-2
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MDPI and ACS Style

Petrella, C.; Nenna, R.; Petrarca, L.; Tarani, F.; Paparella, R.; Mancino, E.; Di Mattia, G.; Conti, M.G.; Matera, L.; Bonci, E.; Ceci, F.M.; Ferraguti, G.; Gabanella, F.; Barbato, C.; Di Certo, M.G.; Cavalcanti, L.; Minni, A.; Midulla, F.; Tarani, L.; Fiore, M. Serum NGF and BDNF in Long-COVID-19 Adolescents: A Pilot Study. Diagnostics 2022, 12, 1162. https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics12051162

AMA Style

Petrella C, Nenna R, Petrarca L, Tarani F, Paparella R, Mancino E, Di Mattia G, Conti MG, Matera L, Bonci E, Ceci FM, Ferraguti G, Gabanella F, Barbato C, Di Certo MG, Cavalcanti L, Minni A, Midulla F, Tarani L, Fiore M. Serum NGF and BDNF in Long-COVID-19 Adolescents: A Pilot Study. Diagnostics. 2022; 12(5):1162. https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics12051162

Chicago/Turabian Style

Petrella, Carla, Raffaella Nenna, Laura Petrarca, Francesca Tarani, Roberto Paparella, Enrica Mancino, Greta Di Mattia, Maria Giulia Conti, Luigi Matera, Enea Bonci, Flavio Maria Ceci, Giampiero Ferraguti, Francesca Gabanella, Christian Barbato, Maria Grazia Di Certo, Luca Cavalcanti, Antonio Minni, Fabio Midulla, Luigi Tarani, and Marco Fiore. 2022. "Serum NGF and BDNF in Long-COVID-19 Adolescents: A Pilot Study" Diagnostics 12, no. 5: 1162. https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics12051162

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