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Biomolecules ; 13(2)2023 01 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2199744


BACKGROUND: Diarrhea is present in up to 30-50% of patients with COVID-19. The mechanism of SARS-CoV-2-induced diarrhea remains unclear. We hypothesized that enterocyte-enteric neuron interactions were important in SARS-CoV-2-induced diarrhea. SARS-CoV-2 induces endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in enterocytes causing the release of damage associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). The DAMPs then stimulate the release of enteric neurotransmitters that disrupt gut electrolyte homeostasis. METHODS: Primary mouse enteric neurons (EN) were exposed to a conditioned medium from ACE2-expressing Caco-2 colonic epithelial cells infected with SARS-CoV-2 or treated with tunicamycin (ER stress inducer). Vasoactive intestinal peptides (VIP) expression and secretion by EN were assessed by RT-PCR and ELISA, respectively. Membrane expression of NHE3 was determined by surface biotinylation. RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 infection led to increased expression of BiP/GRP78, a marker and key regulator for ER stress in Caco-2 cells. Infected cells secreted the DAMP protein, heat shock protein 70 (HSP70), into the culture media, as revealed by proteomic and Western analyses. The expression of VIP mRNA in EN was up-regulated after treatment with a conditioned medium of SARS-CoV-2-infected Caco-2 cells. CD91, a receptor for HSP70, is abundantly expressed in the cultured mouse EN. Tunicamycin, an inducer of ER stress, also induced the release of HSP70 and Xbp1s, mimicking SARS-CoV-2 infection. Co-treatment of Caco-2 with tunicamycin (apical) and VIP (basolateral) induced a synergistic decrease in membrane expression of Na+/H+ exchanger (NHE3), an important transporter that mediates intestinal Na+/fluid absorption. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 enterocyte infection leads to ER stress and the release of DAMPs that up-regulates the expression and release of VIP by EN. VIP in turn inhibits fluid absorption through the downregulation of brush-border membrane expression of NHE3 in enterocytes. These data highlight the role of epithelial-enteric neuronal crosstalk in COVID-19-related diarrhea.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Mice , Animals , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Sodium-Hydrogen Exchanger 3 , Tunicamycin , Caco-2 Cells , Culture Media, Conditioned , Proteomics , Sodium-Hydrogen Exchangers/genetics , Sodium-Hydrogen Exchangers/metabolism , Diarrhea , Endoplasmic Reticulum Chaperone BiP , Neurons/metabolism
Microb Biotechnol ; 15(7): 1984-1994, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1794785


Infection by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can trigger excessive interleukin (IL)-6 signalling, leading to a myriad of biological effects including a cytokine storm that contributes to multiple organ failure in severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Using a mouse model, we demonstrated that nasal inoculation of nucleocapsid phosphoprotein (NPP) of SARS-CoV-2 increased IL-6 content in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF). Nasal administration of liquid coco-caprylate/caprate (LCC) onto Staphylococcus epidermidis (S. epidermidis)-colonized mice significantly attenuated NPP-induced IL-6. Furthermore, S. epidermidis-mediated LCC fermentation to generate electricity and butyric acid that promoted bacterial colonization and activated free fatty acid receptor 2 (Ffar2) respectively. Inhibition of Ffar2 impeded the effect of S. epidermidis plus LCC on the reduction of NPP-induced IL-6. Collectively, these results suggest that nasal S. epidermidis is part of the first line of defence in ameliorating a cytokine storm induced by airway infection of SARS-CoV-2.

COVID-19 , Cytokine Release Syndrome , Staphylococcus epidermidis , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins , Cytokine Release Syndrome/prevention & control , Interleukin-6 , Lung , Mice , Nasal Cavity/microbiology , Phosphoproteins , SARS-CoV-2