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Kidney360 ; 2(7): 1095-1106, 2021 07 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1776832


Background: The actions of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) oppose those of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. ACE2 may be a cytoprotectant in some tissues. This study examined ACE2 expression in models of AKI. Methods: ACE2 mRNA and protein expression and ACE2 activity were assessed in murine ischemic AKI. Renal ACE2 mRNA expression was evaluated in LPS-induced AKI in wild-type (C57BL/6J) mice, in heme oxygenase-1+/+ and heme oxygenase-1-/- mice, and after unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) in wild-type mice. The effect of sex and age on renal ACE2 protein expression was also assessed. Results: In ischemic AKI, ACE2 mRNA and protein expression and ACE2 activity were reduced as compared with such indices in the intact kidney. In ischemic AKI, ACE2, which, in health, is prominently expressed in the tubular epithelium, especially proximal tubules, is decreased in expression in these segments. Decreased ACE2 expression in AKI did not reflect reduced GFR, because ACE2 mRNA expression was unaltered after UUO. LPS induced renal ACE2 mRNA expression in wild-type mice, but this effect did not occur in heme oxygenase-1-deficient mice. In ischemic and LPS-induced AKI, renal expression of the Mas receptor was increased. In the intact kidney, renal ACE2 protein expression decreased in female mice as compared with male mice, but was unaltered with age. Conclusion: We conclude that renal ACE2 expression is decreased in ischemic AKI, characterized by decreased GFR and abundant cell death, but is upregulated in LPS-induced AKI, an effect requiring heme oxygenase-1. Determining the significance of ACE2 expression in experimental AKI merits further study. We suggest that understanding the mechanism underlying ACE2 downregulation in AKI may offer insights relevant to COVID-19: ACE2 expression is downregulated after ACE2 mediates SARS-CoV-2 cellular entry; such downregulation is proinflammatory; and AKI commonly occurs and determines outcomes in COVID-19.

Acute Kidney Injury , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Acute Kidney Injury/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Female , Kidney , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Knockout
Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis ; 1868(3): 166322, 2022 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1637812


BACKGROUND: Acute kidney injury (AKI) is both a consequence and determinant of outcomes in COVID-19. The kidney is one of the major organs infected by the causative virus, SARS-CoV-2. Viral entry into cells requires the viral spike protein, and both the virus and its spike protein appear in the urine of COVID-19 patients with AKI. We examined the effects of transfecting the viral spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 in kidney cell lines. METHODS: HEK293, HEK293-ACE2+ (stably overexpressing ACE2), and Vero E6 cells having endogenous ACE2 were transfected with SARS-CoV-2 spike or control plasmid. Assessment of gene and protein expression, and syncytia formation was performed, and the effects of quercetin on syncytia formation examined. FINDINGS: Spike transfection in HEK293-ACE2+ cells caused syncytia formation, cellular sloughing, and focal denudation of the cell monolayer; transfection in Vero E6 cells also caused syncytia formation. Spike expression upregulated potentially nephrotoxic genes (TNF-α, MCP-1, and ICAM1). Spike upregulated the cytoprotective gene HO-1 and relevant signaling pathways (p-Akt, p-STAT3, and p-p38). Quercetin, an HO-1 inducer, reduced syncytia formation and spike protein expression. INTERPRETATION: The major conclusions of the study are: 1) Spike protein expression in kidney cells provides a relevant model for the study of maladaptive and adaptive responses germane to AKI in COVID-19; 2) such spike protein expression upregulates HO-1; and 3) quercetin, an HO-1 inducer, may provide a clinically relevant/feasible protective strategy in AKI occurring in the setting of COVID-19. FUNDING: R01-DK119167 (KAN), R01-AI100911 (JPG), P30-DK079337; R01-DK059600 (AA).

COVID-19/metabolism , Heme Oxygenase-1/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , Host-Pathogen Interactions/physiology , Humans , Protein Binding/drug effects , Protein Binding/physiology , Quercetin/pharmacology , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Signal Transduction/physiology , Up-Regulation/drug effects , Up-Regulation/physiology , Vero Cells , Virus Internalization/drug effects
Mayo Clin Proc ; 96(10): 2561-2575, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1521396


OBJECTIVE: To compare coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) acute kidney injury (AKI) to sepsis-AKI (S-AKI). The morphology and transcriptomic and proteomic characteristics of autopsy kidneys were analyzed. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Individuals 18 years of age and older who died from COVID-19 and had an autopsy performed at Mayo Clinic between April 2020 to October 2020 were included. Morphological evaluation of the kidneys of 17 individuals with COVID-19 was performed. In a subset of seven COVID-19 cases with postmortem interval of less than or equal to 20 hours, ultrastructural and molecular characteristics (targeted transcriptome and proteomics analyses of tubulointerstitium) were evaluated. Molecular characteristics were compared with archived cases of S-AKI and nonsepsis causes of AKI. RESULTS: The spectrum of COVID-19 renal pathology included macrophage-dominant microvascular inflammation (glomerulitis and peritubular capillaritis), vascular dysfunction (peritubular capillary congestion and endothelial injury), and tubular injury with ultrastructural evidence of mitochondrial damage. Investigation of the spatial architecture using a novel imaging mass cytometry revealed enrichment of CD3+CD4+ T cells in close proximity to antigen-presenting cells, and macrophage-enriched glomerular and interstitial infiltrates, suggesting an innate and adaptive immune tissue response. Coronavirus disease 2019 AKI and S-AKI, as compared to nonseptic AKI, had an enrichment of transcriptional pathways involved in inflammation (apoptosis, autophagy, major histocompatibility complex class I and II, and type 1 T helper cell differentiation). Proteomic pathway analysis showed that COVID-19 AKI and to a lesser extent S-AKI were enriched in necroptosis and sirtuin-signaling pathways, both involved in regulatory response to inflammation. Upregulation of the ceramide-signaling pathway and downregulation of oxidative phosphorylation in COVID-19 AKI were noted. CONCLUSION: This data highlights the similarities between S-AKI and COVID-19 AKI and suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction may play a pivotal role in COVID-19 AKI. This data may allow the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic targets.

Acute Kidney Injury/pathology , COVID-19/pathology , Kidney/pathology , Sepsis/pathology , Acute Kidney Injury/virology , Adult , Autopsy , Humans , Kidney Tubules, Proximal/pathology , Male , Middle Aged , Sepsis/virology