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Int J Mol Sci ; 23(15)2022 Jul 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1957349


Pulmonary fibrosis is a consequence of the pathological accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM), which finally leads to lung scarring. Although the pulmonary fibrogenesis is almost known, the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and its post effects added new particularities which need to be explored. Many questions remain about how pulmonary fibrotic changes occur within the lungs of COVID-19 patients, and whether the changes will persist long term or are capable of resolving. This review brings together existing knowledge on both COVID-19 and pulmonary fibrosis, starting with the main key players in promoting pulmonary fibrosis, such as alveolar and endothelial cells, fibroblasts, lipofibroblasts, and macrophages. Further, we provide an overview of the main molecular mechanisms driving the fibrotic process in connection with Galactin-1, -3, -8, and -9, together with the currently approved and newly proposed clinical therapeutic solutions given for the treatment of fibrosis, based on their inhibition. The work underlines the particular pathways and processes that may be implicated in pulmonary fibrosis pathogenesis post-SARS-CoV-2 viral infection. The recent data suggest that galectin-1, -3, -8, and -9 could become valuable biomarkers for the diagnosis and prognosis of lung fibrosis post-COVID-19 and promising molecular targets for the development of new and original therapeutic tools to treat the disease.

COVID-19 , Pulmonary Fibrosis , COVID-19/complications , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Galectin 1 , Humans , Pandemics , Pulmonary Fibrosis/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2
Cardiovasc Diabetol ; 20(1): 99, 2021 05 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1219133


RATIONALE: About 50% of hospitalized coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) developed myocardial damage. The mechanisms of direct SARS-CoV-2 cardiomyocyte infection include viral invasion via ACE2-Spike glycoprotein-binding. In DM patients, the impact of glycation of ACE2 on cardiomyocyte invasion by SARS-CoV-2 can be of high importance. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in cardiomyocytes from heart autopsy of DM cases compared to Non-DM; to investigate the role of DM in SARS-COV-2 entry in cardiomyocytes. METHODS AND RESULTS: We evaluated consecutive autopsy cases, deceased for COVID-19, from Italy between Apr 30, 2020 and Jan 18, 2021. We evaluated SARS-CoV-2 in cardiomyocytes, expression of ACE2 (total and glycosylated form), and transmembrane protease serine protease-2 (TMPRSS2) protein. In order to study the role of diabetes on cardiomyocyte alterations, independently of COVID-19, we investigated ACE2, glycosylated ACE2, and TMPRSS2 proteins in cardiomyocytes from DM and Non-DM explanted-hearts. Finally, to investigate the effects of DM on ACE2 protein modification, an in vitro glycation study of recombinant human ACE2 (hACE2) was performed to evaluate the effects on binding to SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein. The authors included cardiac tissue from 97 autopsies. DM was diagnosed in 37 patients (38%). Fourth-seven out of 97 autopsies (48%) had SARS-CoV-2 RNA in cardiomyocytes. Thirty out of 37 DM autopsy cases (81%) and 17 out of 60 Non-DM autopsy cases (28%) had SARS-CoV-2 RNA in cardiomyocytes. Total ACE2, glycosylated ACE2, and TMPRSS2 protein expressions were higher in cardiomyocytes from autopsied and explanted hearts of DM than Non-DM. In vitro exposure of monomeric hACE2 to 120 mM glucose for 12 days led to non-enzymatic glycation of four lysine residues in the neck domain affecting the protein oligomerization. CONCLUSIONS: The upregulation of ACE2 expression (total and glycosylated forms) in DM cardiomyocytes, along with non-enzymatic glycation, could increase the susceptibility to COVID-19 infection in DM patients by favouring the cellular entry of SARS-CoV2.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , COVID-19/metabolism , Diabetes Mellitus/metabolism , Myocytes, Cardiac/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Aged , Amino Acid Sequence , Autopsy , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/pathology , Cohort Studies , Diabetes Mellitus/pathology , Female , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Myocytes, Cardiac/pathology , Protein Binding/physiology , Protein Structure, Secondary