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1.
J Clin Med ; 11(14)2022 Jul 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1938867

ABSTRACT

One of the characteristics of the SARS-CoV-2 infection in Italy is the significant regional difference in terms of lethality and mortality. These geographical variances were clear in the first wave and confirmed in the second one as well. The study aimed to analyze the correlation between regional differences in COVID-19 mortality and different regional care models, by retrospectively analyzing the association between the Italian COVID-19 deaths and the number of hospital beds, long-term care facilities, general practitioners (GPs), and the health expenditure per capita. The period considered was from 1 March 2020 to 1 March 2021. The number of hospital beds (p < 0.0001) and the number of GPs (p = 0.0094) significantly predicted the COVID-19 death rate. The Italian regions with a higher number of hospital beds and a lower number of GPs showed a higher number of deaths. Multivariate analyses confirmed the results. The Italian regions with a higher amount of centralized healthcare, as represented by the number of hospital beds, experienced a higher number of deaths, while the regions with greater community support, as exemplified by the number of the GPs, faced higher survival. These results suggest the need for a change in the current healthcare system organization.

2.
Crit Rev Eukaryot Gene Expr ; 32(3): 9-20, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1869252

ABSTRACT

Knowledge of the pathogenic mechanisms of severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is certainly a priority for the scientific community. Two main elements are involved in the biology of the most severe forms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): the direct cytopathic effect of the virus against the host tissues, and a dysfunction of the immune system, characterized by the exhaustion of T lymphocytes. The exhaustion of T cells in COVID-19 is poorly understand, but some data could suggest a possible role of PD-1/PD-L1 axis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the possible role of PD-L1 expression in the pulmonary tissue in subjects affected by COVID-19. The presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the pulmonary tissue, and its exact location, was indagated by in situ hybridization; the expression of PD-L1 and CD8 in the same tissue was indagated by immunohistochemistry. Overall, PD-L1 resulted diffusely expressed in 70% of the cases, and an intense expression was observed in 43.5% of cases. Diffuse and intense presence of SARS-CoV-2 by in situ hybridization significantly correlated with an intense PD-L1 expression, and with expression of PD-L1 by pneumocytes. PD-L1 is overexpressed in the pulmonary tissue of subjects died from COVID-19, and mainly in subjects with a high viral load. These data suggest a possible role of PD-L1 in the immune system exhaustion at the basis of the severe forms of the disease.


Subject(s)
B7-H1 Antigen/metabolism , COVID-19 , B7-H1 Antigen/genetics , Humans , Immune System , Lung , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Virchows Arch ; 480(3): 597-607, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1661693

ABSTRACT

Post-mortem examination plays a pivotal role in understanding the pathobiology of the SARS-CoV-2; thus, the optimization of virus detection on the post-mortem formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue is needed. Different techniques are available for the identification of the SARS-CoV-2, including reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), immunohistochemistry (IHC), in situ hybridization (ISH), and electron microscopy. The main goal of this study is to compare ISH versus RT-PCR to detect SARS-CoV-2 on post-mortem lung samples of positive deceased subjects. A total of 27 samples were analyzed by RT-PCR targeting different viral RNA sequences of SARS-CoV-2, including envelope (E), nucleocapsid (N), spike (S), and open reading frame (ORF1ab) genes and ISH targeting S and Orf1ab. All 27 cases showed the N gene amplification, 22 out of 27 the E gene amplification, 26 out of 27 the S gene amplification, and only 6 the ORF1ab gene amplification. The S ISH was positive only in 12 out of 26 cases positive by RT-PCR. The S ISH positive cases with strong and diffuse staining showed a correlation with low values of the number of the amplification cycles by S RT-PCR suggesting that ISH is a sensitive assay mainly in cases carrying high levels of S RNA. In conclusion, our findings demonstrated that ISH assay has lower sensitivity to detect SARS-CoV-2 in FFPE compared to RT-PCR; however, it is able to localize the virus in the cellular context since it preserves the morphology.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , In Situ Hybridization/methods , Lung , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity
4.
Pathol Res Pract ; 225: 153552, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440296

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is characterized by severe vascular remodelling, resulting in increased pulmonary vascular resistance with cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. However, the diagnosis of PAH is often inaccurate. Many cases of PAH are incorrectly diagnosed or missed, and they are often associated with death. The aim of this study was to verify the morphological and histological criteria of fatal cases of PAH and evaluate the lymphocytic populations associated to lesions with reactive neo-angiogenesis. METHODS: Pulmonary lung sections from 10 cases of sudden unexpected death (SUD) in the absence of previously diagnosed diseases and in an apparent state of well-being, with final histological post autopsy diagnosis of PAH were collected. The pathological findings were compared using ten controls from non-pathological lung from deaths from other causes. The autopsies included 4 males (40%) and 6 females (60%) with an average age of 52.1 ± 10.1 years. Sections stained with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) were revised for a morphological diagnosis. Subsequently, serial sections were performed and stained with immunohistochemistry for anti-CD20 (B-lymphocytes), anti-CD3 (T-lymphocytes), anti-CD4 (T-helper lumphocytes), anti-CD8 (T-cytotoxic lymphocytes) and anti-CD117/C-Kit (mast cells/MCs) to detect inflammatory infiltrate and different ratios of cell-type. Statistical analysis was conducted using a paired t-test looking at 100 cells in 3 different tissue samples representative of vascular lesion and 3 different random normal lung parenchyma fields without lesion (from 10 normal control lungs), to identify specific lymphocyte subpopulations in inflammatory infiltrates. RESULTS: There was a significant percentage increase of CD20 (p < 0.001), CD8 (p = 0.002), CD4 (p < 0.001), and CD117/C-Kit positive (C-Kit+; p < 0.001) cells mainly detected around wall vessels; while increased MCs positivity and C-Kit+ were observed especially in alveolar septa. In addition, reactive angiomatosis was observed. CONCLUSIONS: The inflammatory infiltrate should be included for a correct diagnosis of PAH besides the vascular remodelling. The inflammatory infiltrate seems to be implicated as a main factor in the pathogenesis. This finding is important to rule out secondary pulmonary hypertension, to identify SUDs of unknown causes and to add new elements to the literature that can explain the immunologically related pathogenesis of PAH.


Subject(s)
B-Lymphocytes/pathology , Lung/pathology , Mast Cells/pathology , Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension/pathology , T-Lymphocytes/pathology , Adult , Autopsy , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged
5.
Cardiovasc Diabetol ; 20(1): 99, 2021 05 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1219133

ABSTRACT

RATIONALE: About 50% of hospitalized coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) developed myocardial damage. The mechanisms of direct SARS-CoV-2 cardiomyocyte infection include viral invasion via ACE2-Spike glycoprotein-binding. In DM patients, the impact of glycation of ACE2 on cardiomyocyte invasion by SARS-CoV-2 can be of high importance. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in cardiomyocytes from heart autopsy of DM cases compared to Non-DM; to investigate the role of DM in SARS-COV-2 entry in cardiomyocytes. METHODS AND RESULTS: We evaluated consecutive autopsy cases, deceased for COVID-19, from Italy between Apr 30, 2020 and Jan 18, 2021. We evaluated SARS-CoV-2 in cardiomyocytes, expression of ACE2 (total and glycosylated form), and transmembrane protease serine protease-2 (TMPRSS2) protein. In order to study the role of diabetes on cardiomyocyte alterations, independently of COVID-19, we investigated ACE2, glycosylated ACE2, and TMPRSS2 proteins in cardiomyocytes from DM and Non-DM explanted-hearts. Finally, to investigate the effects of DM on ACE2 protein modification, an in vitro glycation study of recombinant human ACE2 (hACE2) was performed to evaluate the effects on binding to SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein. The authors included cardiac tissue from 97 autopsies. DM was diagnosed in 37 patients (38%). Fourth-seven out of 97 autopsies (48%) had SARS-CoV-2 RNA in cardiomyocytes. Thirty out of 37 DM autopsy cases (81%) and 17 out of 60 Non-DM autopsy cases (28%) had SARS-CoV-2 RNA in cardiomyocytes. Total ACE2, glycosylated ACE2, and TMPRSS2 protein expressions were higher in cardiomyocytes from autopsied and explanted hearts of DM than Non-DM. In vitro exposure of monomeric hACE2 to 120 mM glucose for 12 days led to non-enzymatic glycation of four lysine residues in the neck domain affecting the protein oligomerization. CONCLUSIONS: The upregulation of ACE2 expression (total and glycosylated forms) in DM cardiomyocytes, along with non-enzymatic glycation, could increase the susceptibility to COVID-19 infection in DM patients by favouring the cellular entry of SARS-CoV2.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , COVID-19/metabolism , Diabetes Mellitus/metabolism , Myocytes, Cardiac/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Aged , Amino Acid Sequence , Autopsy , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/pathology , Cohort Studies , Diabetes Mellitus/pathology , Female , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Myocytes, Cardiac/pathology , Protein Binding/physiology , Protein Structure, Secondary
6.
Healthcare (Basel) ; 9(2)2021 Jan 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1045449

ABSTRACT

(1) Background: All deaths that occurred in a hospital of Southern Italy ("San Giuseppe Moscati" Hospital of Avellino) with medium jurisdiction (up to 425,000 citizens approximately) in the period from 9 March to 4 May 2020 were analyzed. The primary endpoint of the study was to analyze the causes of death in the period study. Secondary endpoints included: (1) the assessment of overall mortality in the emergency period compared with the same period of the past years (2018-2019) in the jurisdiction area; (2) the assessment of the amounts of deaths with positive and negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) of nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs; (3) the frequency of clinical and radiological features consistent with Covid-19 infection in negative RT-PCR cases. (2) Methods: Patients' information and laboratory data were collected through the computerized medical record system (My Hospital, Italy) used for the clinical management of all referring patients. Epidemiological, clinical, and radiological data were reviewed along with the results of nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs. (3) Results: From 9 March to 4 May 2020, 140 deaths (87 males, 53 females) from all causes occurred in total at "San Giuseppe Moscati" Hospital, of which 32 deaths were Covid-19 related. (4) Conclusions: The excess of mortality could be higher than the one reported in the official epidemiological surveys. False negative cases can have a distorting effect on the assessment of the real mortality rate and the excess mortality. Furthermore, many who died from Covid-19 were likely never tested or they had false negative RT-PCR results. Other victims probably died from causes indirectly related to Covid-19.

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