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EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-312513


SARS-CoV-2 utilizes the ACE2 transmembrane peptidase as essential cellular entry receptor. Several studies have suggested abundant ACE2 expression in the human lung, inferring strong permissiveness to SARS-CoV-2 infection with resultant alveolar damage and lung injury. Against this expectation, we provide evidence that ACE2 expression must be considered scarce, thereby limiting SARS-CoV-2 propagation in the human alveolus. Instead, spectral imaging of ex vivo infected human lungs and COVID-19 autopsy samples depicted that alveolar macrophages were frequently positive for SARS-CoV-2, indicating viral phagocytosis. Single-cell transcriptomics of SARS-CoV-2 infected human lung tissue further revealed strong inflammatory and anti-viral activation responses in macrophages and monocytes, comparable to those induced by MERS-CoV, but with virus-specific gene expression profiles. Collectively, our findings indicate that severe lung injury in COVID-19 likely results from an overwhelming immune activation rather than direct viral damage of the alveolar compartment.Funding: ACH, LES, SH were supported by Berlin University Alliance GC2 Global Health (Corona Virus Pre-Exploration Project). ACH, SH, TW and CD were supported by BMBF (RAPID) and ACH, SH by BMBF (alvBarriereCOVID-19). KH, LB, SL, SH, CD, TW, ACH were funded by BMBF (NFN-COVID 19, Organo-Strat). KH, NS, LES, MW, SH, ADG, CD, TW and ACH were supported by DFG (SFB-TR 84). ACH was supported by BIH, Charite 3R, and Charité-Zeiss MultiDim. KH was supported by BMBF (Camo-COVID-19). MW, NS and SH was supported by BMBF (PROVID). MW and NS was supported by BIH and BMBF (SYMPATH, CAPSyS, NAPKON). BO and DB were funded through the BIH Clinical Single Cell Bioinformatics Pipeline. LB was supported by the BMBF (CoIMMUNE), the DFG (KFO 342) and the IZKF of the Medical Faculty of the WWU. Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.Ethical Approval: The study was approved by the ethics committee at the Charité clinic (projects EA2/079/13) and Ärztekammer Westfalen-Lippe and of the Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität (AZ: 2016-265-f-S). Written informed consent was obtained from all patients.

Kidney Int Rep ; 6(4): 905-915, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1169160


INTRODUCTION: Acute kidney injury (AKI) is an important complication in COVID-19, but its precise etiology has not fully been elucidated. Insights into AKI mechanisms may be provided by analyzing the temporal associations of clinical parameters reflecting disease processes and AKI development. METHODS: We performed an observational cohort study of 223 consecutive COVID-19 patients treated at 3 sites of a tertiary care referral center to describe the evolvement of severe AKI (Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes stage 3) and identify conditions promoting its development. Descriptive statistics and explanatory multivariable Cox regression modeling with clinical parameters as time-varying covariates were used to identify risk factors of severe AKI. RESULTS: Severe AKI developed in 70 of 223 patients (31%) with COVID-19, of which 95.7% required kidney replacement therapy. Patients with severe AKI were older, predominantly male, had more comorbidities, and displayed excess mortality. Severe AKI occurred exclusively in intensive care unit patients, and 97.3% of the patients developing severe AKI had respiratory failure. Mechanical ventilation, vasopressor therapy, and inflammatory markers (serum procalcitonin levels and leucocyte count) were independent time-varying risk factors of severe AKI. Increasing inflammatory markers displayed a close temporal association with the development of severe AKI. Sensitivity analysis on risk factors of AKI stage 2 and 3 combined confirmed these findings. CONCLUSION: Severe AKI in COVID-19 was tightly coupled with critical illness and systemic inflammation and was not observed in milder disease courses. These findings suggest that traditional systemic AKI mechanisms rather than kidney-specific processes contribute to severe AKI in COVID-19.