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Am J Surg Pathol ; 46(1): 89-96, 2022 01 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1254925


Approximately 20% of patients with symptomatic syndrome-associated coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection have gastrointestinal bleeding and/or diarrhea. Most are managed without endoscopic evaluation because the risk of practitioner infection outweighs the value of biopsy analysis unless symptoms are life-threatening. As a result, much of what is known about the gastrointestinal manifestations of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) has been gleaned from surgical and autopsy cases that suffer from extensive ischemic injury and/or poor preservation. There are no detailed reports describing any other gastrointestinal effects of SARS-CoV-2 even though >3,000,000 people have died from COVID-19 worldwide. The purpose of this study is to report the intestinal findings related to SARS-CoV-2 infection by way of a small case series including one with evidence of direct viral cytopathic effect and 2 with secondary injury attributed to viral infection. Infection can be confirmed by immunohistochemical stains directed against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, in situ hybridization for spike protein-encoding RNA, and ultrastructural visualization of viruses within the epithelium. It induces cytoplasmic blebs and tufted epithelial cells without inflammation and may not cause symptoms. In contrast, SARS-CoV-2 infection can cause gastrointestinal symptoms after the virus is no longer detected, reflecting systemic activation of cytokine and complement cascades rather than direct viral injury. Reversible mucosal ischemia features microvascular injury with hemorrhage, small vessel thrombosis, and platelet-rich thrombi. Systemic cytokine elaboration and dysbiosis likely explain epithelial cell injury that accompanies diarrheal symptoms. These observations are consistent with clinical and in vitro data and contribute to our understanding of the protean manifestations of COVID-19.

COVID-19/pathology , Intestinal Diseases/pathology , Intestinal Diseases/virology , Intestines/pathology , Intestines/virology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Biomarkers/metabolism , Biopsy , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/immunology , Cytokines/metabolism , Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage/diagnosis , Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage/immunology , Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage/pathology , Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage/virology , Humans , Intestinal Diseases/diagnosis , Intestinal Diseases/immunology , Intestines/immunology , Ischemia/diagnosis , Ischemia/immunology , Ischemia/pathology , Ischemia/virology , Male , Thrombosis/diagnosis , Thrombosis/immunology , Thrombosis/pathology , Thrombosis/virology
Nature ; 589(7841): 270-275, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065893


There is an urgent need to create novel models using human disease-relevant cells to study severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) biology and to facilitate drug screening. Here, as SARS-CoV-2 primarily infects the respiratory tract, we developed a lung organoid model using human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC-LOs). The hPSC-LOs (particularly alveolar type-II-like cells) are permissive to SARS-CoV-2 infection, and showed robust induction of chemokines following SARS-CoV-2 infection, similar to what is seen in patients with COVID-19. Nearly 25% of these patients also have gastrointestinal manifestations, which are associated with worse COVID-19 outcomes1. We therefore also generated complementary hPSC-derived colonic organoids (hPSC-COs) to explore the response of colonic cells to SARS-CoV-2 infection. We found that multiple colonic cell types, especially enterocytes, express ACE2 and are permissive to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Using hPSC-LOs, we performed a high-throughput screen of drugs approved by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) and identified entry inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2, including imatinib, mycophenolic acid and quinacrine dihydrochloride. Treatment at physiologically relevant levels of these drugs significantly inhibited SARS-CoV-2 infection of both hPSC-LOs and hPSC-COs. Together, these data demonstrate that hPSC-LOs and hPSC-COs infected by SARS-CoV-2 can serve as disease models to study SARS-CoV-2 infection and provide a valuable resource for drug screening to identify candidate COVID-19 therapeutics.

Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/virology , Colon/cytology , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical/methods , Lung/cytology , Organoids/drug effects , Organoids/virology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/prevention & control , Colon/drug effects , Colon/virology , Drug Approval , Female , Heterografts/drug effects , Humans , In Vitro Techniques , Lung/drug effects , Lung/virology , Male , Mice , Organoids/cytology , Organoids/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , United States , United States Food and Drug Administration , Viral Tropism , Virus Internalization/drug effects
Pathobiology ; 88(1): 56-68, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-781258


BACKGROUND: A novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was identified in Wuhan, China in late 2019. This virus rapidly spread around the world causing disease ranging from minimal symptoms to severe pneumonia, which was termed coronavirus disease (i.e., COVID). Postmortem examination is a valuable tool for studying the pathobiology of this new infection. METHODS: We report the clinicopathologic findings from 32 autopsy studies conducted on patients who died of COVID-19 including routine gross and microscopic examination with applicable special and immunohistochemical staining techniques. RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 infection was confirmed by nasopharyngeal RT-PCR in 31 cases (97%) and by immunohistochemical staining for SARS-CoV-2 spike-protein in the lung in the remaining 1 case (3%). The ethnically diverse cohort consisted of 22 males and 10 females with a mean age of 68 years (range: 30-100). Patients most commonly presented with cough (17 [55%]), shortness of breath (26 [81%]), and a low-grade fever (17 [55%]). Thirty-one (97%) of the patients had at least 1 comorbidity (mean = 4). Twenty-eight patients (88%) had widespread thromboembolic disease, as well as diffuse alveolar damage (30 [94%]), diabetic nephropathy (17 [57%]) and acute tubular injury. Patterns of liver injury were heterogeneous, featuring 10 (36%) with frequent large basophilic structures in sinusoidal endothelium, and increased immunoblast-like cells in lymph nodes. CONCLUSION: This series of autopsies from patients with COVID-19 confirms the observation that the majority of severely affected patients have significant pulmonary pathology. However, many patients also have widespread microscopic thromboses, as well as characteristic findings in the liver and lymph nodes.

COVID-19/virology , Lung/virology , Adult , Aged , Autopsy/methods , COVID-19/pathology , Female , Humans , Lung/pathology , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism