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1.
Virchows Arch ; 2022 Apr 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1787815

ABSTRACT

The use of autopsies in medicine has been declining. The COVID-19 pandemic has documented and rejuvenated the importance of autopsies as a tool of modern medicine. In this review, we discuss the various autopsy techniques, the applicability of modern analytical methods to understand the pathophysiology of COVID-19, the major pathological organ findings, limitations or current studies, and open questions. This article summarizes published literature and the consented experience of the nationwide network of clinical, neuro-, and forensic pathologists from 27 German autopsy centers with more than 1200 COVID-19 autopsies. The autopsy tissues revealed that SARS-CoV-2 can be found in virtually all human organs and tissues, and the majority of cells. Autopsies have revealed the organ and tissue tropism of SARS-CoV-2, and the morphological features of COVID-19. This is characterized by diffuse alveolar damage, combined with angiocentric disease, which in turn is characterized by endothelial dysfunction, vascular inflammation, (micro-) thrombosis, vasoconstriction, and intussusceptive angiogenesis. These findings explained the increased pulmonary resistance in COVID-19 and supported the recommendations for antithrombotic treatment in COVID-19. In contrast, in extra-respiratory organs, pathological changes are often nonspecific and unclear to which extent these changes are due to direct infection vs. indirect/secondary mechanisms of organ injury, or a combination thereof. Ongoing research using autopsies aims at answering questions on disease mechanisms, e.g., focusing on variants of concern, and future challenges, such as post-COVID conditions. Autopsies are an invaluable tool in medicine and national and international interdisciplinary collaborative autopsy-based research initiatives are essential.

3.
Mol Med Rep ; 25(4)2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1715860

ABSTRACT

In addition to the angiotensin­converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a number of host cell entry mediators have been identified for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus­2 (SARS­CoV­2), including transmembrane protease serine 4 (TMPRSS4). The authors have recently demonstrated the upregulation of TMPRSS4 in 11 different cancers, as well as its specific expression within the central nervous system using in silico tools. The present study aimed to expand the initial observations and, using immunohistochemistry, TMPRSS4 protein expression in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and lungs was further mapped. Immunohistochemistry was performed on tissue arrays and lung tissues of patients with non­small cell lung cancer with concurrent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID­19) infection using TMPRSS4 antibody. The results revealed that TMPRSS4 was abundantly expressed in the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, jejunum, ileum, colon, liver and pancreas. Moreover, the extensive TMPRSS4 protein expression in the lungs of a deceased patient with COVID­19 with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and bronchial carcinoma, as well in the adjacent normal tissue, was demonstrated for the first time, at least to the best of our knowledge. On the whole, the immunohistochemistry data of the present study suggest that TMPRSS4 may be implicated in the broader (pulmonary and extra­pulmonary) COVID­19 symptomatology; thus, it may be responsible for the tropism of this coronavirus both in the GI tract and lungs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Gastrointestinal Tract/pathology , Lung Neoplasms/pathology , Lung/pathology , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/virology , Gastrointestinal Tract/virology , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , Lung/virology , Lung Neoplasms/complications , Male , Membrane Proteins/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Serine Endopeptidases/analysis , Virus Internalization
4.
von Stillfried, Saskia, Bülow, Roman David, Röhrig, Rainer, Boor, Peter, Böcker, Jana, Schmidt, Jens, Tholen, Pauline, Majeed, Raphael, Wienströer, Jan, Weis, Joachim, Bremer, Juliane, Knüchel, Ruth, Breitbach, Anna, Cacchi, Claudio, Freeborn, Benita, Wucherpfennig, Sophie, Spring, Oliver, Braun, Georg, Römmele, Christoph, Märkl, Bruno, Claus, Rainer, Dhillon, Christine, Schaller, Tina, Sipos, Eva, Hirschbühl, Klaus, Wittmann, Michael, Kling, Elisabeth, Kröncke, Thomas, Heppner, Frank L.; Meinhardt, Jenny, Radbruch, Helena, Streit, Simon, Horst, David, Elezkurtaj, Sefer, Quaas, Alexander, Göbel, Heike, Hansen, Torsten, Titze, Ulf, Lorenzen, Johann, Reuter, Thomas, Woloszyn, Jaroslaw, Baretton, Gustavo, Hilsenbeck, Julia, Meinhardt, Matthias, Pablik, Jessica, Sommer, Linna, Holotiuk, Olaf, Meinel, Meike, Mahlke, Nina, Esposito, Irene, Crudele, Graziano, Seidl, Maximilian, Amann, Kerstin U.; Coras, Roland, Hartmann, Arndt, Eichhorn, Philip, Haller, Florian, Lange, Fabienne, Schmid, Kurt Werner, Ingenwerth, Marc, Rawitzer, Josefine, Theegarten, Dirk, Birngruber, Christoph G.; Wild, Peter, Gradhand, Elise, Smith, Kevin, Werner, Martin, Schilling, Oliver, Acker, Till, Gattenlöhner, Stefan, Stadelmann, Christine, Metz, Imke, Franz, Jonas, Stork, Lidia, Thomas, Carolina, Zechel, Sabrina, Ströbel, Philipp, Wickenhauser, Claudia, Fathke, Christine, Harder, Anja, Ondruschka, Benjamin, Dietz, Eric, Edler, Carolin, Fitzek, Antonia, Fröb, Daniela, Heinemann, Axel, Heinrich, Fabian, Klein, Anke, Kniep, Inga, Lohner, Larissa, Möbius, Dustin, Püschel, Klaus, Schädler, Julia, Schröder, Ann-Sophie, Sperhake, Jan-Peter, Aepfelbacher, Martin, Fischer, Nicole, Lütgehetmann, Marc, Pfefferle, Susanne, Glatzel, Markus, Krasemann, Susanne, Matschke, Jakob, Jonigk, Danny, Werlein, Christopher, Schirmacher, Peter, Domke, Lisa Maria, Hartmann, Laura, Klein, Isabel Madeleine, Schwab, Constantin, Röcken, Christoph, Friemann, Johannes, Langer, Dorothea, Roth, Wilfried, Strobl, Stephanie, Rudelius, Martina, Stock, Konrad Friedrich, Weichert, Wilko, Delbridge, Claire, Kasajima, Atsuko, Kuhn, Peer-Hendrik, Slotta-Huspenina, Julia, Weirich, Gregor, Barth, Peter, Wardelmann, Eva, Evert, Katja, Büttner, Andreas, Manhart, Johannes, Nigbur, Stefan, Bittmann, Iris, Fend, Falko, Bösmüller, Hans, Granai, Massimo, Klingel, Karin, Warm, Verena, Steinestel, Konrad, Umathum, Vincent Gottfried, Rosenwald, Andreas, Kurz, Florian, Vogt, Niklas.
The Lancet Regional Health - Europe ; : 100330, 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-1693139

ABSTRACT

Summary Background Autopsies are an important tool in medicine, dissecting disease pathophysiology and causes of death. In COVID-19, autopsies revealed e.g., the effects on pulmonary (micro)vasculature or the nervous system, systemic viral spread, or the interplay with the immune system. To facilitate multicentre autopsy-based studies and provide a central hub supporting autopsy centres, researchers, and data analyses and reporting, in April 2020 the German COVID-19 Autopsy Registry (DeRegCOVID) was launched. Methods The electronic registry uses a web-based electronic case report form. Participation is voluntary and biomaterial remains at the respective site (decentralized biobanking). As of October 2021, the registry included N=1129 autopsy cases, with 69271 single data points including information on 18674 available biospecimens gathered from 29 German sites. Findings In the N=1095 eligible records, the male-to-female ratio was 1·8:1, with peaks at 65-69 and 80-84 years in males and >85 years in females. The analysis of the chain of events directly leading to death revealed COVID-19 as the underlying cause of death in 86% of the autopsy cases, whereas in 14% COVID-19 was a concomitant disease. The most common immediate cause of death was diffuse alveolar damage, followed by multi-organ failure. The registry supports several scientific projects, public outreach and provides reports to the federal health authorities, leading to legislative adaptation of the German Infection Protection Act, facilitating the performance of autopsies during pandemics. Interpretation A national autopsy registry can provide multicentre quantitative information on COVID-19 deaths on a national level, supporting medical research, political decision-making and public discussion. Funding German Federal Ministries of Education and Research and Health. Hintergrund: Obduktionen sind ein wichtiges Instrument in der Medizin, um die Pathophysiologie von Krankheiten und Todesursachen zu untersuchen. Im Rahmen von COVID-19 wurden durch Obduktionen z.B. die Auswirkungen auf die pulmonale Mikrovaskulatur, das Nervensystem, die systemische Virusausbreitung, und das Zusammenspiel mit dem Immunsystem untersucht. Um multizentrische, auf Obduktionen basierende Studien zu erleichtern und eine zentrale Anlaufstelle zu schaffen, die Obduktionszentren, Forscher sowie Datenanalysen und -berichte unterstützt, wurde im April 2020 das deutsche COVID-19-Autopsieregister (DeRegCOVID) ins Leben gerufen. Methoden: Das elektronische Register verwendet ein webbasiertes elektronisches Fallberichtsformular. Die Teilnahme ist freiwillig und das Biomaterial verbleibt am jeweiligen Standort (dezentrales Biobanking). Im Oktober 2021 umfasste das Register N=1129 Obduktionsfälle mit 69271 einzelnen Datenpunkten, die Informationen über 18674 verfügbare Bioproben enthielten, die von 29 deutschen Standorten gesammelt wurden. Ergebnisse: In den N=1095 ausgewerteten Datensätzen betrug das Verhältnis von Männern zu Frauen 1,8:1 mit Spitzenwerten bei 65-69 und 80-84 Jahren bei Männern und >85 Jahren bei Frauen. Die Analyse der Sequenz der unmittelbar zum Tod führenden Ereignisse ergab, dass in 86 % der Obduktionsfälle COVID-19 die zugrunde liegende Todesursache war, während in 14 % der Fälle COVID-19 eine Begleiterkrankung war. Die häufigste unmittelbare Todesursache war der diffuse Alveolarschaden, gefolgt von Multiorganversagen. Das Register unterstützt mehrere wissenschaftliche Projekte, die Öffentlichkeitsarbeit und liefert Berichte an die Bundesgesundheitsbehörden, was zu einer Anpassung des deutschen Infektionsschutzgesetzes führte und die Durchführung von Obduktionen in Pandemien erleichtert. Interpretation: Ein nationales Obduktionsregister kann multizentrische quantitative Informationen über COVID-19-Todesfälle auf nationaler Ebene liefern und damit die medizinische Forschung, die politische Entscheidungsfindung und die öffentliche Diskussion unterstützen. Finanzierung: Bundesministerien für Bildung und Forschung und für Gesundheit.

5.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-320042

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has led to a pandemic with millions of people affected. The present study finds prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) blood levels elevated in COVID-19 patients with positive correlation with disease severity. SARS-CoV-2 induces PGE2 generation and secretion in infected lung epithelial cells by upregulating cyclo-oxygenase (COX)-2 and reducing the PG-degrading enzyme 15-hydroxyprostaglandin-dehydrogenase. Also living human-lung-precision-slices infected with SARS-CoV-2 display upregulated COX-2. PGE2 in serum of COVID-19 patients lowers the expression of Paired-Box-Protein-Pax-5 (PAX5), a master regulator of B-cell survival, proliferation and differentiation, in both human and mouse pre-B-cells, while the PGE2 inhibitor taxifolin directly reduces SARS-CoV-2-induced PGE2 production and attenuates viral replication. Risk-factors for severe disease courses, i.e. older age, male sex and air pollution are associated with higher PGE2 production and lower PAX5 expression in pre-B-cells. Since PGE2 acts broadly immunosuppressive its elevation might reduce the early anti-viral defense and its inhibition may therefore reduce severe disease courses.

6.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(3)2022 Jan 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1667195

ABSTRACT

(1) Background: In COVID-19 survivors there is an increased prevalence of pulmonary fibrosis of which the underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood; (2) Methods: In this multicentric study, n = 12 patients who succumbed to COVID-19 due to progressive respiratory failure were assigned to an early and late group (death within ≤7 and >7 days of hospitalization, respectively) and compared to n = 11 healthy controls; mRNA and protein expression as well as biological pathway analysis were performed to gain insights into the evolution of pulmonary fibrogenesis in COVID-19; (3) Results: Median duration of hospitalization until death was 3 (IQR25-75, 3-3.75) and 14 (12.5-14) days in the early and late group, respectively. Fifty-eight out of 770 analyzed genes showed a significantly altered expression signature in COVID-19 compared to controls in a time-dependent manner. The entire study group showed an increased expression of BST2 and IL1R1, independent of hospitalization time. In the early group there was increased activity of inflammation-related genes and pathways, while fibrosis-related genes (particularly PDGFRB) and pathways dominated in the late group; (4) Conclusions: After the first week of hospitalization, there is a shift from pro-inflammatory to fibrogenic activity in severe COVID-19. IL1R1 and PDGFRB may serve as potential therapeutic targets in future studies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Pulmonary Fibrosis/pathology , Aged , COVID-19/mortality , Female , Hospital Mortality/trends , Hospitalization , Humans , Lung/pathology , Male , Middle Aged , Pulmonary Fibrosis/metabolism , Respiratory Insufficiency/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
7.
Elife ; 102021 12 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1597375

ABSTRACT

For the first time, we have used phase-contrast X-ray tomography to characterize the three-dimensional (3d) structure of cardiac tissue from patients who succumbed to Covid-19. By extending conventional histopathological examination by a third dimension, the delicate pathological changes of the vascular system of severe Covid-19 progressions can be analyzed, fully quantified and compared to other types of viral myocarditis and controls. To this end, cardiac samples with a cross-section of 3.5mm were scanned at a laboratory setup as well as at a parallel beam setup at a synchrotron radiation facility the synchrotron in a parallel beam configuration. The vascular network was segmented by a deep learning architecture suitable for 3d datasets (V-net), trained by sparse manual annotations. Pathological alterations of vessels, concerning the variation of diameters and the amount of small holes, were observed, indicative of elevated occurrence of intussusceptive angiogenesis, also confirmed by high-resolution cone beam X-ray tomography and scanning electron microscopy. Furthermore, we implemented a fully automated analysis of the tissue structure in the form of shape measures based on the structure tensor. The corresponding distributions show that the histopathology of Covid-19 differs from both influenza and typical coxsackie virus myocarditis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , Myocarditis/pathology , Myocarditis/virology , Myocardium/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Artificial Intelligence , COVID-19/pathology , Heart/diagnostic imaging , Heart/virology , Humans , Imaging, Three-Dimensional , Myocarditis/diagnostic imaging , Myocarditis/etiology , Synchrotrons , Tomography, X-Ray Computed
10.
Chem Sci ; 12(38): 12600-12609, 2021 Oct 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387506

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2, the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic, exploits host cell proteins for viral entry into human lung cells. One of them, the protease TMPRSS2, is required to activate the viral spike protein (S). Even though two inhibitors, camostat and nafamostat, are known to inhibit TMPRSS2 and block cell entry of SARS-CoV-2, finding further potent therapeutic options is still an important task. In this study, we report that a late-stage drug candidate, otamixaban, inhibits SARS-CoV-2 cell entry. We show that otamixaban suppresses TMPRSS2 activity and SARS-CoV-2 infection of a human lung cell line, although with lower potency than camostat or nafamostat. In contrast, otamixaban inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection of precision cut lung slices with the same potency as camostat. Furthermore, we report that otamixaban's potency can be significantly enhanced by (sub-) nanomolar nafamostat or camostat supplementation. Dominant molecular TMPRSS2-otamixaban interactions are assessed by extensive 109 µs of atomistic molecular dynamics simulations. Our findings suggest that combinations of otamixaban with supplemental camostat or nafamostat are a promising option for the treatment of COVID-19.

11.
PLoS One ; 16(8): e0255335, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1341502

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has led to a pandemic with millions of people affected. The present study finds that risk-factors for severe COVID-19 disease courses, i.e. male sex, older age and sedentary life style are associated with higher prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) serum levels in blood samples from unaffected subjects. In COVID-19 patients, PGE2 blood levels are markedly elevated and correlate positively with disease severity. SARS-CoV-2 induces PGE2 generation and secretion in infected lung epithelial cells by upregulating cyclo-oxygenase (COX)-2 and reducing the PG-degrading enzyme 15-hydroxyprostaglandin-dehydrogenase. Also living human precision cut lung slices (PCLS) infected with SARS-CoV-2 display upregulated COX-2. Regular exercise in aged individuals lowers PGE2 serum levels, which leads to increased Paired-Box-Protein-Pax-5 (PAX5) expression, a master regulator of B-cell survival, proliferation and differentiation also towards long lived memory B-cells, in human pre-B-cell lines. Moreover, PGE2 levels in serum of COVID-19 patients lowers the expression of PAX5 in human pre-B-cell lines. The PGE2 inhibitor Taxifolin reduces SARS-CoV-2-induced PGE2 production. In conclusion, SARS-CoV-2, male sex, old age, and sedentary life style increase PGE2 levels, which may reduce the early anti-viral defense as well as the development of immunity promoting severe disease courses and multiple infections. Regular exercise and Taxifolin treatment may reduce these risks and prevent severe disease courses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Dinoprostone/blood , Immunity , Adolescent , Adult , Animals , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Case-Control Studies , Cells, Cultured , Chlorocebus aethiops , Dinoprostone/pharmacology , Dinoprostone/physiology , Disease Progression , Female , Humans , Immunity/drug effects , Immunity/physiology , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Vero Cells , Young Adult
12.
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
13.
Angiogenesis ; 24(4): 755-788, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1286153

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is presenting as a systemic disease associated with vascular inflammation and endothelial injury. Severe forms of SARS-CoV-2 infection induce acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and there is still an ongoing debate on whether COVID-19 ARDS and its perfusion defect differs from ARDS induced by other causes. Beside pro-inflammatory cytokines (such as interleukin-1 ß [IL-1ß] or IL-6), several main pathological phenomena have been seen because of endothelial cell (EC) dysfunction: hypercoagulation reflected by fibrin degradation products called D-dimers, micro- and macrothrombosis and pathological angiogenesis. Direct endothelial infection by SARS-CoV-2 is not likely to occur and ACE-2 expression by EC is a matter of debate. Indeed, endothelial damage reported in severely ill patients with COVID-19 could be more likely secondary to infection of neighboring cells and/or a consequence of inflammation. Endotheliopathy could give rise to hypercoagulation by alteration in the levels of different factors such as von Willebrand factor. Other than thrombotic events, pathological angiogenesis is among the recent findings. Overexpression of different proangiogenic factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2) or placental growth factors (PlGF) have been found in plasma or lung biopsies of COVID-19 patients. Finally, SARS-CoV-2 infection induces an emergency myelopoiesis associated to deregulated immunity and mobilization of endothelial progenitor cells, leading to features of acquired hematological malignancies or cardiovascular disease, which are discussed in this review. Altogether, this review will try to elucidate the pathophysiology of thrombotic complications, pathological angiogenesis and EC dysfunction, allowing better insight in new targets and antithrombotic protocols to better address vascular system dysfunction. Since treating SARS-CoV-2 infection and its potential long-term effects involves targeting the vascular compartment and/or mobilization of immature immune cells, we propose to define COVID-19 and its complications as a systemic vascular acquired hemopathy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Myelopoiesis , Neovascularization, Pathologic/metabolism , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Thrombosis/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/therapy , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Endothelial Cells/virology , Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products/metabolism , Fibroblast Growth Factor 2/metabolism , Humans , Interleukin-1beta/metabolism , Interleukin-6/metabolism , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , Neovascularization, Pathologic/pathology , Neovascularization, Pathologic/therapy , Neovascularization, Pathologic/virology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/pathology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/therapy , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/virology , Thrombosis/pathology , Thrombosis/therapy , Thrombosis/virology , Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A/metabolism , von Willebrand Factor/metabolism
14.
Pathologe ; 42(2): 164-171, 2021 Mar.
Article in German | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1235729

ABSTRACT

Viral respiratory diseases constitute the most common reasons for hospitalization with more than half of all acute illnesses worldwide. Progressive respiratory failure with pronounced diffuse alveolar damage has been identified as the primary cause of death in COVID-19. COVID-19 pneumonia shares common histopathological hallmarks with influenza (H1N1)-related ARDS, like diffuse alveolar damage (DAD) with edema, hemorrhage, and intra-alveolar fibrin deposition. The lungs with COVID-19 pneumonia revealed perivascular inflammation, an endothelial injury, microangiopathy, and an aberrant blood vessel neoformation by intussusceptive angiogenesis. While this pronounced angiocentric inflammation is likely be found - to varying degrees - in numerous other organs, e.g., the heart, COVID-19 is hypothesized to be not just a pulmonary, but rather a systemic "vascular disease."


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype , Heart , Humans , Lung , SARS-CoV-2
15.
Pathologe ; 42(2): 216-223, 2021 Mar.
Article in German | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1235725

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Autopsy is an important tool for understanding the pathogenesis of diseases, including COVID-19. MATERIAL AND METHODS: On 15 April 2020, together with the German Society of Pathology and the Federal Association of German Pathologists, the German Registry of COVID-19 Autopsies (DeRegCOVID) was launched ( www.DeRegCOVID.ukaachen.de ). Building on this, the German Network for Autopsies in Pandemics (DEFEAT PANDEMIcs) was established on 1 September 2020. RESULTS: The main goal of DeRegCOVID is to collect and distribute de facto anonymized data on potentially all autopsies of people who have died from COVID-19 in Germany in order to meet the need for centralized, coordinated, and structured data collection and reporting during the pandemic. The success of the registry strongly depends on the willingness of the respective centers to report the data, which has developed very positively so far and requires special thanks to all participating centers. The rights to own data and biomaterials (stored decentrally) remain with each respective center. The DEFEAT PANDEMIcs network expands on this and aims to strengthen harmonization and standardization as well as nationwide implementation and cooperation in the field of pandemic autopsies. CONCLUSIONS: The extraordinary cooperation in the field of autopsies in Germany during the COVID-19 pandemic is impressively demonstrated by the establishment of DeRegCOVID, the merger of the registry of neuropathology (CNS-COVID19) with DeRegCOVID and the establishment of the autopsy network DEFEAT PANDEMIcs. It gives a strong signal for the necessity, readiness, and expertise to jointly help manage current and future pandemics by autopsy-derived knowledge.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Autopsy , Humans , Registries , SARS-CoV-2
16.
EBioMedicine ; 65: 103255, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1116567

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Antivirals are needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, which is caused by SARS-CoV-2. The clinically-proven protease inhibitor Camostat mesylate inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection by blocking the virus-activating host cell protease TMPRSS2. However, antiviral activity of Camostat mesylate metabolites and potential viral resistance have not been analyzed. Moreover, antiviral activity of Camostat mesylate in human lung tissue remains to be demonstrated. METHODS: We used recombinant TMPRSS2, reporter particles bearing the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 or authentic SARS-CoV-2 to assess inhibition of TMPRSS2 and viral entry, respectively, by Camostat mesylate and its metabolite GBPA. FINDINGS: We show that several TMPRSS2-related proteases activate SARS-CoV-2 and that two, TMPRSS11D and TMPRSS13, are robustly expressed in the upper respiratory tract. However, entry mediated by these proteases was blocked by Camostat mesylate. The Camostat metabolite GBPA inhibited recombinant TMPRSS2 with reduced efficiency as compared to Camostat mesylate. In contrast, both inhibitors exhibited similar antiviral activity and this correlated with the rapid conversion of Camostat mesylate into GBPA in the presence of serum. Finally, Camostat mesylate and GBPA blocked SARS-CoV-2 spread in human lung tissue ex vivo and the related protease inhibitor Nafamostat mesylate exerted augmented antiviral activity. INTERPRETATION: Our results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 can use TMPRSS2 and closely related proteases for spread in the upper respiratory tract and that spread in the human lung can be blocked by Camostat mesylate and its metabolite GBPA. FUNDING: NIH, Damon Runyon Foundation, ACS, NYCT, DFG, EU, Berlin Mathematics center MATH+, BMBF, Lower Saxony, Lundbeck Foundation, Novo Nordisk Foundation.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Esters/pharmacology , Guanidines/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Animals , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Membrane Proteins/biosynthesis , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Serine Endopeptidases/biosynthesis , Serine Proteases/biosynthesis , Vero Cells , Virus Activation/drug effects , Virus Internalization/drug effects
17.
Pathologe ; 42(2): 164-171, 2021 Mar.
Article in German | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1070829

ABSTRACT

Viral respiratory diseases constitute the most common reasons for hospitalization with more than half of all acute illnesses worldwide. Progressive respiratory failure with pronounced diffuse alveolar damage has been identified as the primary cause of death in COVID-19. COVID-19 pneumonia shares common histopathological hallmarks with influenza (H1N1)-related ARDS, like diffuse alveolar damage (DAD) with edema, hemorrhage, and intra-alveolar fibrin deposition. The lungs with COVID-19 pneumonia revealed perivascular inflammation, an endothelial injury, microangiopathy, and an aberrant blood vessel neoformation by intussusceptive angiogenesis. While this pronounced angiocentric inflammation is likely be found - to varying degrees - in numerous other organs, e.g., the heart, COVID-19 is hypothesized to be not just a pulmonary, but rather a systemic "vascular disease."


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype , Heart , Humans , Lung , SARS-CoV-2
19.
N Engl J Med ; 383(27): 2689-2690, 2020 12 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1003368
20.
Cells ; 9(11)2020 10 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-921181

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the cause of the current coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic. Protease inhibitors are under consideration as virus entry inhibitors that prevent the cleavage of the coronavirus spike (S) protein by cellular proteases. Herein, we showed that the protease inhibitor aprotinin (but not the protease inhibitor SERPINA1/alpha-1 antitrypsin) inhibited SARS-CoV-2 replication in therapeutically achievable concentrations. An analysis of proteomics and translatome data indicated that SARS-CoV-2 replication is associated with a downregulation of host cell protease inhibitors. Hence, aprotinin may compensate for downregulated host cell proteases during later virus replication cycles. Aprotinin displayed anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in different cell types (Caco2, Calu-3, and primary bronchial epithelial cell air-liquid interface cultures) and against four virus isolates. In conclusion, therapeutic aprotinin concentrations exert anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity. An approved aprotinin aerosol may have potential for the early local control of SARS-CoV-2 replication and the prevention of COVID-19 progression to a severe, systemic disease.


Subject(s)
Aprotinin/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/metabolism , Caco-2 Cells , Chlorocebus aethiops , Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serine Proteinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , Vero Cells
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