How The Spike Protein Affects The Brain

Brain fog, loss of taste and smell, fatigue, headache, encephalopathy (brain disease), anxiety, and even psychosis—a broad range of neurological symptoms were brought to attention after the COVID pandemic, appearing in long COVID and vaccine adverse events. These problems might be caused by a microscopic biomolecule—the spike protein.

spike protein

The spike protein is found in the SARS-CoV-2 virus and can be produced in the body via infection and mRNA vaccination. Both of these introductory mechanisms impact multiple organ systems. One organ system of interest is the nervous system—the system responsible for controlling our bodily functions and communicating with the sensory world. In short—our brain.

How Long COVID and mRNA Vaccines Are Related to Spike Protein

Using animal models and cell culture methods, researchers have studied in depth the effects of the spike protein on the nervous system.

Long COVID is often associated with experiencing oxygen deprivation with severe infection, but may also be caused by the spike protein.

With SARS-CoV-2 infection, the spike protein binds to specific receptors on the host cell. This allows the genetic material of the virus to enter the host cell in order to make more virus particles.

In contrast, mRNA vaccination introduces mRNA into cells that cause them to produce large quantities of the spike protein over time. While the COVID-19 vaccines are administered intramuscularly, mRNA from the COVID-19 vaccine has been found in the brain as reported by the European Medicines Agency report (2021) for the Moderna vaccine.

In mouse models, spike protein introduction into the brain caused mice to behave anxiously, have poor memory, and have reduced environmental curiosity as measured by behavioral tests. These findings are similar to the cognitive problems experienced by recovered COVID-19 patients, including deficits in attention, language, executive functioning, processing speed, and memory.

Spike Protein May Cause Brain Tissue Damage

Cell culture studies have demonstrated that the spike protein negatively affects brain  cells. Studies have shown that brain cells stimulated with the spike protein produce inflammatory molecules. These molecules can cause cell death, resulting in damaged brain tissue.

Animal studies have confirmed the presence of damaged brain tissue and dead brain cells in brain tissue samples of animals that had been infected with the spike protein.

Further, exposure to the spike protein might lead to an increase in the expression of genes responsible for processes such as energy metabolism, connective tissue support and structure, and brain development. When upregulated, these genes can have negative impacts such as tissue inflammation, or promote tumor development.

Similarly, proteins responsible for cell structure and function are impacted by the spike protein. One protein, RhoA, was found to be more present in cells that have come in contact with the spike protein. This allows the SARS-CoV-2 virus to enter the brain, which can cause physiological damage.

Another protein of interest is ACE2, which is a primary target for the spike protein on the SARS-CoV-2 virus. ACE2 is responsible for decreasing blood pressure. However,  overexpression of this protein can cause increased pressure in the brain. Cell culture studies have found that ACE2 expression increases when brain cells are exposed to the spike protein.

Experts Worry About Spike Protein Accumulation in Brain

Researchers are also concerned about the effects of the accumulation of the spike protein within the brain.

The spike protein has been found to aggregate within the brain tissue, which may cause neurodegenerative disease. Of the SARS-CoV-2 variants, the Delta variant had a higher rate of protein misfolding than the original Wuhan and Omicron strains. Because of this, scientists caution that spike protein delivery to the brain may present risk of neurodegenerative disease development.

Whether through contracting SARS-CoV-2 or through vaccination, the spike protein can enter the body. Caution should be used in regards to both, as the spike protein can negatively impact the brain on both a cellular and molecular level.

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