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1.
Minerva Endocrinol (Torino) ; 2022 Mar 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1737520

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Despite severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-Coronavirus (CoV2) primarily targeting the lungs, the heart represents another critical virus target. Thus, the identification of SARS-CoV-2 disease of 2019 (COVID-19)-associated biomarkers would be beneficial to stratify prognosis and the risk of developing cardiac complications. Aldosterone and galectin-3 promote fibrosis and inflammation and are considered a prognostic biomarker of lung and adverse cardiac remodeling. Here, we tested whether galectin-3 and aldosterone levels can predict adverse cardiac outcomes in COVID-19 patients. METHODS: To this aim, we assessed galectin-3 and aldosterone serum levels in 51 patients diagnosed with COVID-19, using a population of 19 healthy subjects as controls. In in vitro studies, we employed 3T3 fibroblasts to assess the potential roles of aldosterone and galectin-3 in fibroblast activation. RESULTS: Serum galectin-3 levels were more elevated in COVID-19 patients than healthy controls and correlated with COVID-19 severity classification and cardiac Troponin-I (cTnI) serum levels. Furthermore, we observed an augmented secretion of aldosterone in COVID-19 patients. This adrenal hormone is a direct stimulator of galectin-3 secretion; therefore, we surmised that this axis could perpetrate fibrosis and adverse remodeling in these subjects. Thus, we stimulated fibroblasts with 10% of serum from COVID-19 patients. This challenge markedly rose the expression of smooth muscle alpha (α)-2 actin (ACTA2), a myofibroblast marker. CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that COVID-19 can affect cardiac structure and function by triggering aldosterone and galectin-3 release that may serve as prognostic and therapeutic biomarkers while monitoring the course of cardiac complications in patients suffering from COVID-19.

2.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-307685

ABSTRACT

Importance: Clinical severity of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection seems to be lower in children compared to that in adults. Defining the pathophysiological mechanisms of such disease patterns maybe relevant for development of effective public health strategies. It has been hypothesised that the lower severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection in children could be due to the differential expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which serves as a virus receptor.Objective: To evaluate the expression of ACE2, ACE1, and TMPRSS2 genes at the level of the two most relevant entry sites for SARS-CoV-2, the upper respiratory tract and small intestine, in healthy children and adult subjects.Design, Setting, and Participants: This prospective study included healthy individuals of both sexes, aged 1-10 years in the paediatric population (n=30) and 20-80 years in the adult population (n=30). The participants were consecutively evaluated at two tertiary centres for paediatrics, gastroenterology, and otolaryngology.Main Measures: Expression of ACE2, ACE1, and TMPRSS2 genes in samples collected from the upper respiratory tract and small intestine.Results: We found no difference in ACE2, ACE1, and TMPRSS2 expression in the nasal epithelium between children and adult subjects. ACE2 expression was more abundant in the small intestine of children compared to that in adults. ACE1 expression was higher in the small intestine of adults compared to that in children. Intestinal TMPRSS2 expression was similar in the two study populations.Conclusions and Relevance: The general lower severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection in children does not seem to be related to a lower expression of ACE2 and/or TMPRSS2 in the respiratory tract or in the gastrointestinal tract. Other co-factors may confer protection against SARS-CoV-2 in children. The exploration of such factors is of pivotal importance for development of innovative protective strategies against SARS-CoV-2.Funding Statement: This work was supported in part by a grant of Regione Campania POR FESR 2014/2020, Task Force Covid-19 DGR 140 – 17 March 2020.Declaration of Interests: The authors have no other conflict of interests that are directly relevant to the content of this manuscript, which remains their sole responsibility.Ethics Approval Statement: The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the University Federico II of Naples, Italy. Written informed consent was obtained from the adult participants and from the parents/tutors of minors.

5.
Front Pediatr ; 9: 697390, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1357534

ABSTRACT

Background: Clinical features of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection seem to differ in children compared to that in adults. It has been hypothesized that the lower clinical severity in children could be influenced by differential expression of the main host functional receptor to SARS-CoV-2, the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), but data are still conflicting. To explore the origin of age-dependent clinical features of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), we comparatively evaluated the expression in children and adult subjects of the most relevant mediators of the SARS-CoV-2 infection: ACE2, angiotensin-converting enzyme 1 (ACE1), transmembrane serine protease-2 (TMPRSS2), and neuropilin-1 (NRP1), at upper respiratory tract and small intestine level. Methods: The expression of ACE2, ACE1, TMPRSS2, and NRP1 in nasal epithelium and in small intestine epithelium was investigated by quantitative real-time PCR analysis. Results: We found no differences in ACE2, ACE1, and TMPRSS2 expression in the nasal epithelium comparing children and adult subjects. In contrast, nasal epithelium NRP1 expression was lower in children compared to that in adults. Intestinal ACE2 expression was higher in children compared to that in adults, whereas intestinal ACE1 expression was higher in adults. Intestinal TMPRSS2 and NRP1 expression was similar comparing children and adult subjects. Conclusions: The lower severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection observed in children may be due to a different expression of nasal NRP1, that promotes the virus interaction with ACE2. However, the common findings of intestinal symptoms in children could be due to a higher expression of ACE2 at this level. The insights from these data will be useful in determining the treatment policies and preventive measures for COVID-19.

6.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(16)2021 Aug 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1348646

ABSTRACT

The rare but dangerous adverse events evidenced after massive vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 are represented by thrombosis and thrombocytopenia. The patients diagnosed with severe COVID-19 may develop a pro-thrombotic state with a much higher frequency, thus we decided to investigate the role of Spike protein (the only common product of the two conditions) or the anti-Spike antibodies in the etiopathogenesis of thrombosis. A pathogenic Platelet Factor 4 (PF4)-dependent syndrome, unrelated to the use of heparin therapy, has been reported after the administration of vaccines in the patients manifesting acute thrombocytopenia and thrombosis. Thus, we aimed at shedding light on the structural similarities of Spike of SARS-CoV-2 and PF4 on their eventual biochemical interactions and on the role of their specific antibodies. The similarities between PF4 and Spike-RBD proteins were evaluated by a comparison of the structures and by testing the cross-reactivity of their specific antibodies by ELISA assays. We found that the anti-Spike antibodies do not recognize PF4, on the contrary, the anti-PF4 antibodies show some cross-reactivity for Spike-RBD. More interestingly, we report for the first time that the PF4 and Spike-RBD proteins can bind each other. These data suggest that the interaction of the two proteins could be involved in the generation of anti-PF4 antibodies, their binding to Spike-RBD, which could lead to platelets aggregation due also to their high expression of ACE2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , COVID-19/immunology , Platelet Factor 4 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Cross Reactions , Humans , Platelet Factor 4/chemistry , Platelet Factor 4/immunology , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Thrombocytopenia/pathology , Thrombosis/pathology
7.
Biomedicines ; 9(6)2021 May 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1256425

ABSTRACT

Since the beginning of 2020, the new pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 and named coronavirus disease 19 (COVID 19) has changed our socio-economic life. In just a few months, SARS-CoV-2 was able to spread worldwide at an unprecedented speed, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths, especially among the weakest part of the population. Indeed, especially at the beginning of this pandemic, many reports highlighted how people, suffering from other pathologies, such as hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes, are more at risk of severe outcomes if infected. Although this pandemic has put the entire academic world to the test, it has also been a year of intense research and many important contributions have advanced our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 origin, its molecular structure and its mechanism of infection. Unfortunately, despite this great effort, we are still a long way from fully understanding how SARS-CoV-2 dysregulates organismal physiology and whether the current vaccines will be able to protect us from possible future pandemics. Here, we discuss the knowledge we have gained during this year and which questions future research should address.

8.
Diagnostics (Basel) ; 11(2)2021 Feb 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1085113

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced diagnostic laboratories to focus on the early diagnostics of SARS-CoV-2. The positivity of a molecular test cannot respond to the question regarding the viral capability to replicate, spread, and give different clinical effects. Despite the fact that some targets are covered by commercially-available assays, the identification of new biomarkers is desired in order to improve the quality of the information given by these assays. Therefore, since the subgenomic transcripts (sgN and sgE) are considered markers of viral activity, we evaluated these subgenomic transcripts in relation to the genomic amplification obtained using five different commercial CE-IVD tools. Methods: Five CE-IVD kits were compared in terms of their capability to detect both synthetic SARS-CoV-2 viral constructs (spiked in TMB or PBS medium) and targets (N, E, RdRp and Orf1ab genes) in twenty COVID-19-positive patients' swabs. The sgN and sgE were assayed by real-time RT-qPCR and digital PCR. Results: None of the diagnostic kits missed the viral target genes when they were applied to targets spiked in TMB or PBS (at dilutions ranging from 100 pg to 0.1 pg). Nevertheless, once they were applied to RNA extracted from the patients' swabs, the superimposability ranged from 50% to 100%, regardless of the extraction procedure. The sgN RNA transcript was detected only in samples with a higher viral load (Ct ≤ 22.5), while sgE was within all of the Ct ranges. Conclusions: The five kits show variable performances depending on the assay layout. It is worthy of note that the detection of the sgN transcript is associated with a higher viral load, thus representing a new marker of early and more severe infection.

9.
Platelets ; 32(2): 284-287, 2021 Feb 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-990311

ABSTRACT

The frequent finding of thrombocytopenia in patients with severe SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19) and previous evidence that several viruses enter platelets suggest that SARS-CoV-2 might be internalized by platelets of COVID-19. Aim of our study was to assess the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in platelets from hospitalized patients with aconfirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. RNA was extracted from platelets, leukocytes and serum from 24 COVID-19 patients and 3 healthy controls, real-time PCR and ddPCR for viral genes were carried out. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was not detected in any of the samples analyzed nor in healthy controls, by either RT-PCR or ddPCR, while RNA samples from nasopharyngeal swabs of COVID-19 patients were correctly identified. Viral RNA was not detected independently of viral load, of positive nasopharyngeal swabs, or viremia, the last detected in only one patient (4.1%). SARS-CoV-2 entry in platelets is not acommon phenomenon in COVID-19 patients, differently from other viral infections.


Subject(s)
Blood Platelets/virology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/virology , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Aged , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Testing , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Load
11.
Lung ; 198(6): 867-877, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-917117

ABSTRACT

Despite the unprecedented effort of the scientific community, the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus has infected more than 46 million people worldwide, killing over one million two hundred thousand. Understanding the mechanisms by which some individuals are more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and why a subgroup of them are prone to experience severe pneumonia, and death should lead to a better approach and more effective treatments for COVID-19. Here, we focus our attention on ACE2, a primary receptor of SARS-CoV-2. We will discuss its biology, tissue expression, and post-translational regulation that determine its potential to be employed by SARS-CoV-2 for cell entry. Particular attention will be given to how the ACE2 soluble form can have a great impact on disease progression and thus be used in a potential therapeutic strategy. Furthermore, we will discuss repercussions that SARS-CoV-2/ACE2 binding has on the renin-angiotensin system and beyond. Indeed, although mostly neglected, ACE2 can also act on [des-Arg 937]-bradykinin of the kinin-kallikrein system regulating coagulation and inflammation. Thorough comprehension of the role that ACE2 plays in different pathways will be the key to assess the impact that SARS-CoV-2/ACE2 binding has on organismal physiology and will help us to find better therapies and diagnostic tools.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/physiology , COVID-19/etiology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/therapy , Humans , Receptors, Coronavirus/physiology , Renin-Angiotensin System/physiology , Virus Internalization
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