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1.
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
2.
Cell ; 184(26): 6243-6261.e27, 2021 12 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1536467

ABSTRACT

COVID-19-induced "acute respiratory distress syndrome" (ARDS) is associated with prolonged respiratory failure and high mortality, but the mechanistic basis of lung injury remains incompletely understood. Here, we analyze pulmonary immune responses and lung pathology in two cohorts of patients with COVID-19 ARDS using functional single-cell genomics, immunohistology, and electron microscopy. We describe an accumulation of CD163-expressing monocyte-derived macrophages that acquired a profibrotic transcriptional phenotype during COVID-19 ARDS. Gene set enrichment and computational data integration revealed a significant similarity between COVID-19-associated macrophages and profibrotic macrophage populations identified in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. COVID-19 ARDS was associated with clinical, radiographic, histopathological, and ultrastructural hallmarks of pulmonary fibrosis. Exposure of human monocytes to SARS-CoV-2, but not influenza A virus or viral RNA analogs, was sufficient to induce a similar profibrotic phenotype in vitro. In conclusion, we demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 triggers profibrotic macrophage responses and pronounced fibroproliferative ARDS.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis/pathology , Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis/virology , Macrophages/pathology , Macrophages/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Antigens, CD/metabolism , Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic/metabolism , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , Cell Communication , Cohort Studies , Fibroblasts/pathology , Gene Expression Regulation , Humans , Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis/diagnostic imaging , Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis/genetics , Mesenchymal Stem Cells/pathology , Phenotype , Proteome/metabolism , Receptors, Cell Surface/metabolism , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/diagnostic imaging , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/pathology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/virology , Tomography, X-Ray Computed , Transcription, Genetic
3.
Am J Clin Pathol ; 157(1): 54-63, 2022 01 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1379433

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Respiratory failure is the major cause of death in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Autopsy-based reports describe diffuse alveolar damage (DAD), organizing pneumonia, and fibrotic change, but data on early pathologic changes and during progression of the disease are rare. METHODS: We prospectively enrolled three patients with COVID-19 and performed full clinical evaluation, including high-resolution computed tomography. We took transbronchial biopsy (TBB) specimens at different time points and autopsy tissue samples for histopathologic and ultrastructural evaluation after the patients' death. RESULTS: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was confirmed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and/or fluorescence in situ hybridization in all TBBs. Lung histology showed reactive pneumocytes and capillary congestion in one patient who died shortly after hospital admission with detectable virus in one of two lung autopsy samples. SARS-CoV-2 was detected in two of two autopsy samples from another patient with a fulminant course and very short latency between biopsy and autopsy, showing widespread organizing DAD. In a third patient with a prolonged course, autopsy samples showed extensive fibrosis without detectable virus. CONCLUSIONS: We report the course of COVID-19 in paired biopsy specimens and autopsies, illustrating vascular, organizing, and fibrotic patterns of COVID-19-induced lung injury. Our results suggest an early spread of SARS-CoV-2 from the upper airways to the lung periphery with diminishing viral load during disease.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Autopsy , Biopsy , Humans , In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence , Lung
4.
Cells ; 10(8)2021 07 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1335012

ABSTRACT

Multiorgan tropism of SARS-CoV-2 has previously been shown for several major organs. We have comprehensively analyzed 25 different formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues/organs from autopsies of fatal COVID-19 cases (n = 8), using histopathological assessment, detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA using polymerase chain reaction and RNA in situ hybridization, viral protein using immunohistochemistry, and virus particles using transmission electron microscopy. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was mainly localized in epithelial cells across all organs. Next to lung, trachea, kidney, heart, or liver, viral RNA was also found in tonsils, salivary glands, oropharynx, thyroid, adrenal gland, testicles, prostate, ovaries, small bowel, lymph nodes, skin and skeletal muscle. Viral RNA was predominantly found in cells expressing ACE2, TMPRSS2, or both. The SARS-CoV-2 replicating RNA was also detected in these organs. Immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy were not suitable for reliable and specific SARS-CoV-2 detection in autopsies. These findings were validated using in situ hybridization on external COVID-19 autopsy samples (n = 9). Apart from the lung, correlation of viral detection and histopathological assessment did not reveal any specific alterations that could be attributed to SARS-CoV-2. In summary, SARS-CoV-2 and its replication could be observed across all organ systems, which co-localizes with ACE2 and TMPRSS2 mainly in epithelial but also in mesenchymal and endothelial cells. Apart from the respiratory tract, no specific (histo-)morphologic alterations could be assigned to the SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Aged , Autopsy , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Endothelial Cells/virology , Female , Gene Expression Regulation , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Organ Specificity , Tropism
5.
Microb Biotechnol ; 14(4): 1627-1641, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1228701

ABSTRACT

Virus detection methods are important to cope with the SARS-CoV-2 pandemics. Apart from the lung, SARS-CoV-2 was detected in multiple organs in severe cases. Less is known on organ tropism in patients developing mild or no symptoms, and some of such patients might be missed in symptom-indicated swab testing. Here, we tested and validated several approaches and selected the most reliable RT-PCR protocol for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in patients' routine diagnostic formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded (FFPE) specimens available in pathology, to assess (i) organ tropism in samples from COVID-19-positive patients, (ii) unrecognized cases in selected tissues from negative or not-tested patients during a pandemic peak, and (iii) retrospectively, pre-pandemic lung samples. We identified SARS-CoV-2 RNA in seven samples from confirmed COVID-19 patients, in two gastric biopsies, one small bowel and one colon resection, one lung biopsy, one pleural resection and one pleural effusion specimen, while all other specimens were negative. In the pandemic peak cohort, we identified one previously unrecognized COVID-19 case in tonsillectomy samples. All pre-pandemic lung samples were negative. In conclusion, SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection in FFPE pathology specimens can potentially improve surveillance of COVID-19, allow retrospective studies, and advance our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 organ tropism and effects.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Diagnostic Tests, Routine , Humans , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies
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