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Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



The sever acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a highly transmissible viruswhich causes a life-threatening illness called coronavirus (COVID-19). It has cost millions ofdeath worldwide. This novel RNA betacorona virus is manifested by varying clinical symptomsranging from asymptomatic to mild to severe systemic illness with deadly outcomes. Muchevidence revealed the differences in the severity of COVID-19 infection varied widely accordingto host factors and comorbidities. It is critical to understand the interplay of genetic and epigeneticfactors and host response to this fatal virus. A substantial number of epigenome-wide associationstudies acknowledged that SARS-CoV-2 manipulate the host epigenome via DNA methylation andalter the host antivirus defense mechanisms and immune systems related to interleukin, helper T-cell differentiation and leucocyte activation. Moreover, infections after SARS-CoV-2 exposure ledto post-acute sequelae, which involve a wide array of neurological abnormalities, such as mentalhealth, extrapyramidal, movement, and cognition disorders. There is a need to investigate thechanges in whole genome of COVID-19 patients responsible for these underlying neurologicalabnormalities. In this regard, we explored for the first time key epigenetic changes using wholegenome-based DNA methylation profiling, in COVID-19 positive patients with different diseaseseverities and COVID-19 negative controls. We found significant hypomethylation in enhancerregion of the entire genome spanning 1-5kb in COVID-19 patients with mild, moderate, and severesymptoms and it becomes more pronounce as the severity of infection increases. Furthermore, thegene set enrichment analysis revealed that the COVID-19 infection is associated withneuroinflammation, mood and developmental disorders and downregulation of neurondevelopment, neuron projection morphogenesis and glutaminergic signaling. Our results provideevidence of reduced DNA methylation across the entire genome as a key factor for neurologicaldysfunctions in COVID-19 patients.Key words: COVID-19, DNA methylation, epigenome, neuroinflammation


The Society for Neuroscience, Washington, D.C., November 11-15, 2023.