Implication of aging related chronic neuroinflammation on covid-19 pandemic

Paola Bossù, Elisa Toppi, Valentina Sterbini, Gianfranco Spalletta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, leads to a respiratory syndrome and other manifestations. Most affected people show no or mild symptoms, but the risk of severe disease and death increases in older people. Here, we report a narrative review on selected studies targeting aging-related chronic neuroinflammation in the COVID-19 pandemic. A hyperactivation of the innate immune system with elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines occurs during severe COVID-19, pointing to an important role of the innate immune dysregulation in the disease outcome. Aging is characterized by a general condition of low-grade inflammation, also connected to chronic inflammation of the brain (neuroinflammation), which is involved in frailty syndrome and contributes to several age-associated diseases, including neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders. Since neuroinflammation can be induced or worsened by the virus infection itself, as well as by stressful conditions like those linked to the recent pandemic, the role of neuroinflammatory mechanisms could be central in a vicious circle leading to an increase in the mortality risk in aged COVID-19 patients. Furthermore, triggered neuroinflammatory pathways and consequent neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric conditions might be potential long-term complications of COVID-19. In order to provide insights to help clinicians in identifying patients who progress to a more severe case of the disease, this review underlines the potential implications of aging-related neuroinflammation in COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Personalized Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • Brain inflammation
  • COVID-19 neurological and psychiatric manifestations
  • Elderly
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Severe COVID-19

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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