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1.
Arch Pathol Lab Med ; 2022 Jun 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1879615

ABSTRACT

CONTEXT.­: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been associated with liver injury, and a small subset of patients recovering from severe disease have shown persistent markedly elevated liver biochemistries for months after infection. OBJECTIVE.­: To characterize persistent biliary injury after COVID-19. DESIGN.­: A search of the pathology archives identified 7 post-COVID-19 patients with persistent biliary injury, and the clinical, radiologic, and pathologic features were assessed. RESULTS.­: All patients in this cohort presented with respiratory symptoms and had a complicated clinical course with acute elevation of liver biochemistries. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) was markedly and persistently elevated after discharge (median peak ALP: 1498 IU/L, at a median of 84 days from diagnosis). Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) showed 3 patients with irregularity, stricturing, and dilatation of intrahepatic ducts; no radiographic abnormalities were identified in the remaining 4 patients. Liver biopsies showed mild portal changes with features of cholestatic injury in 4 patients (bile duct injury and canalicular cholestasis) and marked biliary obstruction in 2 patients (profound cholestasis, ductular reaction, and bile infarcts), but no SARS-CoV-2 ribonucleic acid (RNA) was identified on in-situ hybridization. On follow-up, most patients had minimal intervention and showed marked improvement of liver biochemistries but with mild persistent elevation of ALP. CONCLUSIONS.­: A subset of critically ill COVID-19 patients demonstrates marked and persistent cholestatic injury, with radiographic and histologic evidence of secondary sclerosing cholangitis, suggesting that cholestatic liver disease and secondary sclerosing cholangitis may be long-term sequelae of COVID-19 acute illness as a longstanding manifestation of critical illness.

2.
Histopathology ; 79(6): 1004-1017, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1398415

ABSTRACT

AIMS: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been recognised as a predominantly respiratory tract infection, but some patients manifest severe systemic symptoms/coagulation abnormalities. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of severe COVID-19 infection on the gastrointestinal tract. METHODS AND RESULTS: We examined clinicopathological findings in 28 resected ischaemic bowels from 22 patients with severe COVID-19. Most patients required intubation preoperatively and presented with acute decompensation shortly before surgery. D-dimer levels were markedly elevated in all measured cases (mean, 5394 ng/ml). Histologically, 25 cases (19 patients) showed evidence of acute ischaemia with necrosis. In this group, the most characteristic finding was the presence of small vessel fibrin thrombi (24 of 25 cases, 96%), which were numerous in 64% of cases. Patients with COVID-19 were significantly more likely than a control cohort of 35 non-COVID-19-associated acute ischaemic bowels to show isolated small intestine involvement (32% versus 6%, P < 0.001), small vessel fibrin thrombi (100% versus 43%, P < 0.001), submucosal vessels with fibrinous degeneration and perivascular neutrophils (90% versus 54%, P < 0.001), fibrin strands within submucosal vessels (58% versus 20%, P = 0.007), and histological evidence of pneumatosis (74% versus 34%, P = 0.010). Three cases in this cohort had histopathological findings normally seen in the setting of chronic ischaemia, notably prominent fibroblastic proliferation affecting the outer layer of the muscularis propria. CONCLUSIONS: Herein, we describe the histopathological findings in COVID-19-associated ischaemic bowels and postulate a relationship with the hypercoagulable state seen in patients with severe COVID-19 infection. Additional experience with these cases may further elucidate specific features or mechanisms of COVID-19-associated ischaemic enterocolitis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , Colitis, Ischemic/pathology , Colitis, Ischemic/virology , Enterocolitis/pathology , Enterocolitis/virology , Adult , Aged , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Am J Surg Pathol ; 45(1): 14-24, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1015416

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) is caused by a newly discovered coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Although SARS-CoV-2 is visualized on electron microscopy, there is an increasing demand for widely applicable techniques to visualize viral components within tissue specimens. Viral protein and RNA can be detected on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue using immunohistochemistry (IHC) and in situ hybridization (ISH), respectively. Herein, we evaluate the staining performance of ISH for SARS-CoV-2 and an IHC directed at the SARS-CoV nucleocapsid protein and compare these results to a gold standard, tissue quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). We evaluated FFPE sections from 8 COVID-19 autopsies, including 19 pulmonary and 39 extrapulmonary samples including the heart, liver, kidney, small intestine, skin, adipose tissue, and bone marrow. We performed RNA-ISH for SARS-CoV-2 on all cases with IHC for SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 qRT-PCR performed on selected cases. Lungs from 37 autopsies performed before the COVID-19 pandemic served as negative controls. The ISH and IHC slides were reviewed by 4 observers to record a consensus opinion. Selected ISH and IHC slides were also reviewed by 4 independent observers. Evidence of SARS-CoV-2 was identified on both the IHC and ISH platforms. Within the postmortem lung, detected viral protein and RNA were often extracellular, predominantly within hyaline membranes in patients with diffuse alveolar damage. Among individual cases, there was regional variation in the amount of detectable virus in lung samples. Intracellular viral RNA and protein was localized to pneumocytes and immune cells. Viral RNA was detected on RNA-ISH in 13 of 19 (68%) pulmonary FFPE blocks from patients with COVID-19. Viral protein was detected on IHC in 8 of 9 (88%) pulmonary FFPE blocks from patients with COVID-19, although in 5 cases the stain was interpreted as equivocal. From the control cohort, FFPE blocks from all 37 patients were negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA-ISH, whereas 5 of 13 cases were positive on IHC. Collectively, when compared with qRT-PCR on individual tissue blocks, the sensitivity and specificity for ISH was 86.7% and 100%, respectively, while those for IHC were 85.7% and 53.3%, respectively. The interobserver variability for ISH ranged from moderate to almost perfect, whereas that for IHC ranged from slight to moderate. All extrapulmonary samples from COVID-19-positive cases were negative for SARS-CoV-2 by ISH, IHC, and qRT-PCR. SARS-CoV-2 is detectable on both RNA-ISH and nucleocapsid IHC. In the lung, viral RNA and nucleocapsid protein is predominantly extracellular and within hyaline membranes in some cases, while intracellular locations are more prominent in others. The intracellular virus is detected within pneumocytes, bronchial epithelial cells, and possibly immune cells. The ISH platform is more specific, easier to analyze and the interpretation is associated with the improved interobserver agreement. ISH, IHC, and qRT-PCR failed to detect the virus in the heart, liver, and kidney.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/analysis , Immunohistochemistry , In Situ Hybridization , Lung/virology , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Phosphoproteins/analysis , Predictive Value of Tests , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Reproducibility of Results
4.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 6319, 2020 12 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-966313

ABSTRACT

The relationship of SARS-CoV-2 pulmonary infection and severity of disease is not fully understood. Here we show analysis of autopsy specimens from 24 patients who succumbed to SARS-CoV-2 infection using a combination of different RNA and protein analytical platforms to characterize inter-patient and intra-patient heterogeneity of pulmonary virus infection. There is a spectrum of high and low virus cases associated with duration of disease. High viral cases have high activation of interferon pathway genes and a predominant M1-like macrophage infiltrate. Low viral cases are more heterogeneous likely reflecting inherent patient differences in the evolution of host response, but there is consistent indication of pulmonary epithelial cell recovery based on napsin A immunohistochemistry and RNA expression of surfactant and mucin genes. Using a digital spatial profiling platform, we find the virus corresponds to distinct spatial expression of interferon response genes demonstrating the intra-pulmonary heterogeneity of SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Host Microbial Interactions , Interferons/metabolism , Lung , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases/metabolism , Autopsy , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/pathology , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Humans , Immunity , Immunohistochemistry , In Situ Hybridization , Interferons/genetics , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Macrophages/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Mucins/genetics , Mucins/metabolism , Surface-Active Agents/metabolism , Transcriptome , Viral Load
6.
Mod Pathol ; 33(11): 2092-2103, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-693331

ABSTRACT

Congenital infection of SARS-CoV-2 appears to be exceptionally rare despite many cases of COVID-19 during pregnancy. Robust proof of placental infection requires demonstration of viral localization within placental tissue. Only two of the few cases of possible vertical transmission have demonstrated placental infection. None have shown placental expression of the ACE2 or TMPRSS2 protein, both required for viral infection. We examined 19 COVID-19 exposed placentas for histopathologic findings, and for expression of ACE2, and TMPRSS2 by immunohistochemistry. Direct placental SARS-CoV-2 expression was studied by two methods-nucleocapsid protein expression by immunohistochemistry, and RNA expression by in situ hybridization. ACE2 membranous expression in the syncytiotrophoblast (ST) of the chorionic villi is predominantly in a polarized pattern with expression highest on the stromal side of the ST. In addition, cytotrophoblast and extravillous trophoblast express ACE2. No ACE2 expression was detected in villous stroma, Hofbauer cells, or endothelial cells. TMPRSS2 expression was only present weakly in the villous endothelium and rarely in the ST. In 2 of 19 cases, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was present in the placenta focally in the ST and cytotrophoblast. There was no characteristic histopathology present in our cases including the two placental infections. We found that the placenta is capable of being infected but that this event is rare. We propose one explanation could be the polarized expression of ACE2 away from the maternal blood and pronounced paucity of TMPRSS2 expression in trophoblast.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/virology , Placenta/pathology , Placenta/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/virology , Adult , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Female , Humans , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/biosynthesis , Placenta/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/metabolism , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/pathology , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/biosynthesis
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