COVID-19-related encephalopathy presenting with aphasia resolving following tocilizumab treatment

Lorenzo Muccioli, Umberto Pensato, Ilaria Cani, Luca Guerra, Federica Provini, Giorgio Bordin, Luca Albini Riccioli, Raffaele Lodi, Paolo Tinuper, Francesca Bisulli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Encephalopathy is emerging as a recurrent complication of COVID-19 yet remains poorly characterized. We report the case of a middle-aged woman with COVID-19-related encephalopathy presenting as expressive aphasia and inattentiveness, subsequently progressing to agitation and marked confusion. Brain MRI and CSF analysis were unremarkable, while EEG showed slowing with frontal sharp waves. Neuropsychiatric symptoms resolved following treatment with tocilizumab. CNS involvement in COVID-19 may present as a subacute encephalopathy characterized by prominent frontal lobe dysfunction, with language disturbances as first neurological manifestation. Future studies should further investigate the role of tocilizumab in treating COVID-19-related encephalopathy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number577400
JournalJournal of Neuroimmunology
Publication statusPublished - Dec 15 2020


  • Cytokines
  • Delirium
  • Encephalitis
  • Immunotherapy
  • Neurological
  • SARS-COV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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