Objective: It is reported that recovery from COVID-19 chemosensory deficit generally occurs in a few weeks, although olfactory dysfunction may persist longer. Here, we provide a detailed follow-up clinical investigation in a very young female patient (17-year-old) with a long-lasting anosmia after a mild infection, with partial recovery 15 months after the onset. Methods: Neuroimaging and neurophysiologic assessments as well as olfactory mucosa swabbing for microbiological and immunocytochemical analyses were performed. Olfactory and gustatory evaluations were conducted through validated tests. Results: Chemosensory evaluations were consistent with anosmia associated with parosmia phenomena and gustatory impairment, the latter less persistent. Brain MRI (3.0 T) showed no microvascular injury in olfactory bulbs and brain albeit we cannot rule out slight structural abnormalities during the acute phase, and a high-density EEG was negative. Immunocytochemistry of olfactory mucosa swabs showed high expression of ACE2 in sustentacular cells and lower dot-like cytoplasmic positivity in neuronal-shaped cells. Discussion: The occurrence of long-term persistent olfactory deficit in spite of the absence of structural brain and olfactory bulb involvement supports the view of a possible persistent dysfunction of both sustentacular cells and olfactory neurons. The gustatory dysfunction even if less persisting for the described features could be related to a primary gustatory system involvement. Future longitudinal studies are needed to investigate the persistence of chemosensory impairment, which could have a relevant impact on the daily life.

Persistent chemosensory dysfunction in a young patient with mild COVID-19 with partial recovery 15 months after the onset

Cecchini, Maria Paola
;
Brozzetti, Lorenzo;Cardobi, Nicolò;Sacchetto, Luca;Gibellini, Davide;Montemezzi, Stefania;Monaco, Salvatore;Zanusso, Gianluigi
2022

Abstract

Objective: It is reported that recovery from COVID-19 chemosensory deficit generally occurs in a few weeks, although olfactory dysfunction may persist longer. Here, we provide a detailed follow-up clinical investigation in a very young female patient (17-year-old) with a long-lasting anosmia after a mild infection, with partial recovery 15 months after the onset. Methods: Neuroimaging and neurophysiologic assessments as well as olfactory mucosa swabbing for microbiological and immunocytochemical analyses were performed. Olfactory and gustatory evaluations were conducted through validated tests. Results: Chemosensory evaluations were consistent with anosmia associated with parosmia phenomena and gustatory impairment, the latter less persistent. Brain MRI (3.0 T) showed no microvascular injury in olfactory bulbs and brain albeit we cannot rule out slight structural abnormalities during the acute phase, and a high-density EEG was negative. Immunocytochemistry of olfactory mucosa swabs showed high expression of ACE2 in sustentacular cells and lower dot-like cytoplasmic positivity in neuronal-shaped cells. Discussion: The occurrence of long-term persistent olfactory deficit in spite of the absence of structural brain and olfactory bulb involvement supports the view of a possible persistent dysfunction of both sustentacular cells and olfactory neurons. The gustatory dysfunction even if less persisting for the described features could be related to a primary gustatory system involvement. Future longitudinal studies are needed to investigate the persistence of chemosensory impairment, which could have a relevant impact on the daily life.
COVID-19
Anosmia
Dysgeusia
Parosmia
Persistent chemosensory deficit
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/1050083
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