Role of Neuropilin 1 in COVID-19 Patients with Acute Ischemic Stroke


  • Al-Thomali Asma
  • Al-Kuraishy Hayder
  • Al-Gareeb Ali
  • K. Al-Buhadiliy Ali
  • de Waard Michel
  • Sabatier Jean-Marc
  • Khan Khalil Atif Ali
  • Saad Hebatallah
  • Batiha Gaber El-Saber


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection can trigger the adaptive and innate immune responses, leading to uncontrolled inflammatory reactions and associated local and systematic tissue damage, along with thromboembolic disorders that may increase the risk of acute ischemic stroke (AIS) in COVID-19 patients. The neuropilin (NRP-1) which is a co-receptor for the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), integrins, and plexins, is involved in the pathogenesis of AIS. NRP-1 is also regarded as a co-receptor for the entry of SARS-CoV-2 and facilitates its entry into the brain through the olfactory epithelium. NRP-1 is regarded as a cofactor for binding of SARS-CoV-2 with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), since the absence of ACE2 reduces SARS-CoV-2 infectivity even in presence of NRP-1. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to clarify the potential role of NRP-1 in COVID-19 patients with AIS. SARS-CoV-2 may transmit to the brain through NRP-1 in the olfactory epithelium of the nasal cavity, leading to different neurological disorders, and therefore about 45% of COVID-19 patients had neurological manifestations. NRP-1 has the potential capability to attenuate neuroinflammation, blood–brain barrier (BBB) permeability, cerebral endothelial dysfunction (ED), and neuronal dysfunction that are uncommon in COVID-19 with neurological involvement, including AIS. Similarly, high NRP-1 serum level is linked with ED, oxidative stress, and the risk of pulmonary thrombosis in patients with severe COVID-19, suggesting a compensatory mechanism to overcome immuno-inflammatory disorders. In conclusion, NRP-1 has an important role in the pathogenesis of COVID-19 and AIS, and could be the potential biomarker linking the development of AIS in COVID-19. The present findings cannot provide a final conclusion, and thus in silico, experimental, in vitro, in vivo, preclinical, and clinical studies are recommended to confirm the potential role of NRP-1 in COVID-19, and to elucidate the pharmacological role of NRP-1 receptor agonists and antagonists in COVID-19.

more information