Principal Investigator: Douglas Kondo
Keywords: COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , HIF-1 , Hypoxia , Inflammation , Brain Energy Metabolism Department: Psychiatry
IRB Number: 00132787 Co Investigator: Younghoon Sung
Specialty: Psychiatry
Sub Specialties: Mood Disorders
Recruitment Status: Recruiting

Contact Information

Colleen Fitzgerald

Brief Summary

This study is an extension of our current work measuring changes in brain energy metabolism in response to chronic hypoxia. The purpose of this study is to explore and quantify the relationships between HIF-1, inflammatory cytokines, and in vivo markers of brain bioenergetics in patients who have recovered from Severe vs. Asymptomatic  COVID-19 infections.

Aim 1: To quantify alterations in brain phosphocreatine (PCr) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), in patients recovered from severe vs. asymptomatic cases of COVID-19.

Aim 2: To quantify peripheral hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) and inflammatory cytokine levels in patients recovered from severe vs. asymptomatic cases of COVID-19.

Aim 3: To explore the association between the peripheral HIF-1 and cytokine levels in both participant groups, in relation to PCr and ATP concentrations in the brain.

Using phosphorus-31 magnetic resonance spectroscopy (31P-MRS) brain scans, combined with analysis of serum HIF-1 and inflammatory cytokine levels in patients fully recovered from severe vs. asymptomatic COVID-19, will enable us to investigate the following Research Hypotheses:

1.     Recovered COVID-19 patients who experienced respiratory distress and required hospitalization (herein referred to as H-COVID-19) will show increased PCr and decreased ATP relative to patients recovered from asymptomatic COVID-19.

2.     Recovered H-COVID-19 patients will have higher levels of peripheral HIF-1 and inflammatory cytokines, when compared to patients recovered from asymptomatic COVID-19.

3.     Peripheral HIF-1 levels will be correlated with the changes in PCr levels in both recovered H-COVID-19 patients and recovered asymptomatic COVID-19.

Inclusion Criteria

General Inclusion Criteria for All Study Subjects

1) Age 18 to 65 years;

2) Absence of unstable medical or neurological conditions as determined by medical history 

3) Capable of providing valid informed consent, which includes compliance with the study requirements listed in the consent form.

4) Recovered from COVID-19 within the past year, as confirmed by antibody testing


General Inclusion Criteria for H-COVID-19 Arm:

1) Hospitalization for COVID-19 in past-year, confirmed by HIPAA authorized record review


Specific Hypoxia-Related Inclusion Criteria for All Study Subjects:

1) Resident of the Inter-Mountain West for a minimum of 2 months;

2) No out-of-region travel for 2 months prior to study entry;

3) No air travel within 2 months of study enrollment, or during study participation.

Exclusion Criteria

  • 1) Known or suspected current COVID-19 infection
  • 2) Current fever (temperature > 38 degrees Celsius)
  • 3) Weight of 375 pounds or greater
  • 4) History of known or suspected intellectual disability
  • 5) Contraindication to magnetic resonance brain scan (e.g. ferromagnetic implant),
  • 6) History of clinically-significant claustrophobic anxiety
  • 7) Presence of unstable medical, neurological, psychiatric, or substance use disorder
  • 8) Current pregnancy (females)