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1.
Nat Metab ; 4(3): 310-319, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1764213

ABSTRACT

Extrapulmonary manifestations of COVID-19 have gained attention due to their links to clinical outcomes and their potential long-term sequelae1. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) displays tropism towards several organs, including the heart and kidney. Whether it also directly affects the liver has been debated2,3. Here we provide clinical, histopathological, molecular and bioinformatic evidence for the hepatic tropism of SARS-CoV-2. We find that liver injury, indicated by a high frequency of abnormal liver function tests, is a common clinical feature of COVID-19 in two independent cohorts of patients with COVID-19 requiring hospitalization. Using autopsy samples obtained from a third patient cohort, we provide multiple levels of evidence for SARS-CoV-2 liver tropism, including viral RNA detection in 69% of autopsy liver specimens, and successful isolation of infectious SARS-CoV-2 from liver tissue postmortem. Furthermore, we identify transcription-, proteomic- and transcription factor-based activity profiles in hepatic autopsy samples, revealing similarities to the signatures associated with multiple other viral infections of the human liver. Together, we provide a comprehensive multimodal analysis of SARS-CoV-2 liver tropism, which increases our understanding of the molecular consequences of severe COVID-19 and could be useful for the identification of organ-specific pharmacological targets.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Liver , Proteomics , Tropism
2.
Cell Stem Cell ; 29(2): 217-231.e8, 2022 02 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1586459

ABSTRACT

Kidney failure is frequently observed during and after COVID-19, but it remains elusive whether this is a direct effect of the virus. Here, we report that SARS-CoV-2 directly infects kidney cells and is associated with increased tubule-interstitial kidney fibrosis in patient autopsy samples. To study direct effects of the virus on the kidney independent of systemic effects of COVID-19, we infected human-induced pluripotent stem-cell-derived kidney organoids with SARS-CoV-2. Single-cell RNA sequencing indicated injury and dedifferentiation of infected cells with activation of profibrotic signaling pathways. Importantly, SARS-CoV-2 infection also led to increased collagen 1 protein expression in organoids. A SARS-CoV-2 protease inhibitor was able to ameliorate the infection of kidney cells by SARS-CoV-2. Our results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 can directly infect kidney cells and induce cell injury with subsequent fibrosis. These data could explain both acute kidney injury in COVID-19 patients and the development of chronic kidney disease in long COVID.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/complications , Fibrosis , Humans , Kidney , Organoids/pathology
3.
Int J Legal Med ; 135(6): 2347-2349, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1391863

ABSTRACT

Due to the development of novel functionalities, distinct SARS-CoV-2 variants such as B.1.1.7 fuel the current pandemic. B.1.1.7 is not only more transmissible, but may also cause an increased mortality compared to previous SARS-CoV-2 variants. Human tissue analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 is urgently needed, and we here present autopsy data from 7 consecutive SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 cases. The initial RT-qPCR analyses from nasopharyngeal swabs taken post mortem included typing assays for B.1.1.7. We quantitated SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 viral load in autopsy tissue of multiple organs. Highest levels of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 copies normalized to ß-globin were detected in the respiratory system (lung and pharynx), followed by the liver and heart. Importantly, SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 was found in 100% of cases in the lungs and in 85.7% in pharynx tissue. Detection also in the kidney and brain highlighting a pronounced organ tropism. Comparison of the given results to a former cohort of SARS-CoV-2 deaths during the first wave in spring 2020 showed resembling organ tropism. Our results indicate that also SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 has a relevant organ tropism beyond the respiratory tract. We speculate that B.1.1.7 spike protein's affinity to human ACE2 facilitates transmission, organ tropism, and ultimately morbidity and mortality. Further studies and larger cohorts are obligatory to proof this link.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Load , Viral Tropism , Aged , Autopsy , Female , Heart/virology , Humans , Kidney/virology , Liver/virology , Lung/virology , Male , Middle Aged , Pharynx/virology
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