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European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences ; 25(24):7997-8003, 2021.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-1589477


OBJECTIVE: The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) showed similar characteristics with the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). In the most compromised cases, COVID-19 infection leads to death due to severe respiratory complications. COVID-19-related acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is the primary cause of death in these patients. In the present study, we show an ultrastructural analysis on the lungs of a patient affected by COVID-19. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Lung specimens obtained at autopsy from a 63-years old patient affected by COVID-19 were fixed in 1% paraformaldehyde. Slices of 300 mu m thickness were dehydrated and dried by Critical Point Drying in CO2. Slices were covered with a conductive gold film approximately 30 nm thick and observed at a Zeiss Sigma 300 SEM FEG in the secondary electron (SE) and backscattered electron (BSE) modes. As case control a lung biopsy from a 60-year-old man was considered. RESULTS: At low power in all COVID-19 lung specimens severe changes in the pulmonary architecture were found, due to the collapse of air spaces. Moreover, alveolar cavities were covered by large membranes. At high power, alveolar membranes showed a fibrillar structure, suggestive of a loose network of fibrin. It has been also found that intra-alveolar red blood cells were frequently present in the alveolar spaces, surrounded by a reticular fibrin network, suggestive for fibrin-hemorrhagic alveolitis. Alveolar changes were constantly associated with pathological features related to the pulmonary vessels. Vascular changes were prominent, including endothelial damage and thrombosis of large pulmonary vessels. Fibrinous microthrombi were frequently detected in the inter-alveolar septal capillaries. In addition, it has been frequently detected capillary proliferation in the alveolar septa with finding suggestive for intussusceptive neo-angiogenesis. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, our electron microscopy analysis showed that COVID-19-related lung disease is characterized by a substantial architectural distortion, with the interactions between alveolar and vascular changes. Intra-alveolar hyaline membranes are associated with macro-and micro-thrombotic angiopathy, ending with capillary proliferation. The new blood vessel formation originates from the septa and extends into the surrounding parenchyma. Our findings confirm previous reports on the specificity of the multiple and complex morphological pattern typical, and apparently specific, of COVID-19-related lung disease.

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci ; 25(18): 5876-5884, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1451047


The risk stratification of young adults between subjects who will develop a mild form COVID-19 and subjects who will undergo a severe disease remains inaccurate. In this review, we propose that the Barker hypothesis might explain the increased susceptibility to severe forms of COVID-19 in subjects who underwent intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). In this paper evidence indicating an association between a low birth weight and an adult phenotype which might favor a severe outcome of SARS-CoV-2 infection are presented: lower lung functional capacity; increased respiratory morbidity; changes in fibrinogen and Factor VII serum levels and dysregulation of the hemostasis and thrombosis system; acquisition of a pro-thrombotic phenotype; low nephron number, with decreased ability to sustain renal function and increased renal morbidity; heart remodeling, with a less efficient cardiac function; endothelial dysfunction, a risk factor for the insurgence of the multiple organ failure; remodeling of arteries, with changes in the elastic properties of the arterial wall, predisposing to the insurgence and progression of atherosclerosis; dysfunction of the innate immune system, a risk factor for immune diseases in adulthood. These data suggest that young and adult subjects born too small (IUGR) or too early (pre-terms) might represent a subgroup of "at risk subjects", more susceptible toward severe forms of COVID-19. Given that LBW may be considered a surrogate of IUGR, this phenotypic marker should be included among the indispensable clinical data collected in every patient presenting with SARS-COV-2 infection, irrespectively of his/her age.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Susceptibility/epidemiology , Fetal Development , Disease Susceptibility/virology , Fetal Growth Retardation , Humans , Infant, Low Birth Weight , Severity of Illness Index , Young Adult
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci ; 24(23): 12609-12622, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-995022


OBJECTIVE: In human pathology, SARS-CoV-2 utilizes multiple molecular pathways to determine structural and biochemical changes within the different organs and cell types. The clinical picture of patients with COVID-19 is characterized by a very large spectrum. The reason for this variability has not been clarified yet, causing the inability to make a prognosis on the evolution of the disease. MATERIALS AND METHODS: PubMed search was performed focusing on the role of ACE 2 receptors in allowing the viral entry into cells, the role of ACE 2 downregulation in triggering the tissue pathology or in accelerating previous disease states, the role of increased levels of Angiotensin II in determining endothelial dysfunction and the enhanced vascular permeability, the role of the dysregulation of the renin angiotensin system in COVID-19 and the role of cytokine storm. RESULTS: The pathological changes induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection in the different organs, the correlations between the single cell types targeted by the virus in the different human organs and the clinical consequences, COVID-19 chronic pathologies in liver fibrosis, cardiac fibrosis and atrial arrhythmias, glomerulosclerosis and pulmonary fibrosis, due to the systemic fibroblast activation induced by angiotensin II are discussed. CONCLUSIONS: The main pathways involved showed different pathological changes in multiple tissues and the different clinical presentations. Even if ACE2 is the main receptor of SARS-CoV-2 and the main entry point into cells for the virus, ACE2 expression does not always explain the observed marked inter-individual variability in clinical presentation and outcome, evidencing the complexity of this disorder. The proper interpretation of the growing data available might allow to better classifying COVID-19 in human pathology.

Angiotensin II/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Cardiomyopathies/metabolism , Cytokine Release Syndrome/metabolism , Endothelium, Vascular/physiopathology , Liver Cirrhosis/metabolism , Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome/metabolism , Thrombosis/metabolism , Angiotensin I/metabolism , Atrial Fibrillation/metabolism , Atrial Fibrillation/physiopathology , Blood Coagulation , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Capillary Permeability , Cardiomyopathies/pathology , Cardiomyopathies/physiopathology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/physiopathology , Cytokines/metabolism , Fibroblasts/metabolism , Fibroblasts/pathology , Fibrosis , Humans , Liver Cirrhosis/pathology , Liver Cirrhosis/physiopathology , Myocarditis/metabolism , Myocarditis/pathology , Myocarditis/physiopathology , Receptors, Coronavirus/metabolism , Renin-Angiotensin System , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome/physiopathology , Thrombosis/physiopathology , Virus Internalization