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1.
Genet Med ; 2022 May 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1819495

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Emerging evidence suggest that infection-dependent hyperactivation of complement system (CS) may worsen COVID-19 outcome. We investigated the role of predicted high impact rare variants - referred as qualifying variants (QVs) - of CS genes in predisposing asymptomatic COVID-19 in elderly individuals, known to be more susceptible to severe disease. METHODS: Exploiting exome sequencing data and 56 CS genes, we performed a gene-based collapsing test between 164 asymptomatic subjects (aged ≥60 years) and 56,885 European individuals from the Genome Aggregation Database. We replicated this test comparing the same asymptomatic individuals with 147 hospitalized patients with COVID-19. RESULTS: We found an enrichment of QVs in 3 genes (MASP1, COLEC11, and COLEC10), which belong to the lectin pathway, in the asymptomatic cohort. Analyses of complement activity in serum showed decreased activity of lectin pathway in asymptomatic individuals with QVs. Finally, we found allelic variants associated with asymptomatic COVID-19 phenotype and with a decreased expression of MASP1, COLEC11, and COLEC10 in lung tissue. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that genetic rare variants can protect from severe COVID-19 by mitigating the activity of lectin pathway and prothrombin. The genetic data obtained through ES of 786 asymptomatic and 147 hospitalized individuals are publicly available at http://espocovid.ceinge.unina.it/.

2.
Molecules ; 27(3)2022 Jan 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1674736

ABSTRACT

Butyrate is a major gut microbiome metabolite that regulates several defense mechanisms against infectious diseases. Alterations in the gut microbiome, leading to reduced butyrate production, have been reported in patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. A new butyrate releaser, useful for all the known applications of butyrate, presenting physiochemical characteristics suitable for easy oral administration, (N-(1-carbamoyl-2-phenyl-ethyl) butyramide (FBA), has been recently developed. We investigated the protective action of FBA against SARS-CoV-2 infection in the human small intestine and enterocytes. Relevant aspects of SARS-CoV-2 infection were assessed: infectivity, host functional receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2), transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2), neuropilin-1 (NRP1), pro-inflammatory cytokines expression, genes involved in the antiviral response and the activation of Nf-kB nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2-like) 2 (Nfr2) pathways. We found that FBA positively modulates the crucial aspects of the infection in small intestinal biopsies and human enterocytes, reducing the expression of ACE2, TMPRSS2 and NRP1, pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-15, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and TNF-α, and regulating several genes involved in antiviral pathways. FBA was also able to reduce the number of SARS-CoV-2-infected cells, and ACE2, TMPRSS2 and NRP1 expression. Lastly, through the inhibition of Nf-kB and the up-regulation of Nfr2, it was also able to reduce the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-15, MCP-1 and TNF-α in human enterocytes. The new butyrate releaser, FBA, exerts a preventive action against SARS-CoV-2 infection. It could be considered as an innovative strategy to limit COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Butyrates/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Butyrates/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Caco-2 Cells , Enterocytes/drug effects , Enterocytes/metabolism , Gene Expression/genetics , Gene Expression Regulation/genetics , Humans , Intestines/drug effects , Intestines/metabolism , Male , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
3.
Genes (Basel) ; 12(6)2021 06 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1264428

ABSTRACT

To identify host genetic determinants involved in humoral immunity and associated with the risk of developing severe COVID-19, we analyzed 500 SARS-CoV-2 positive subjects from Southern Italy. We examined the coding sequences of 10 common variable immunodeficiency-associated genes obtained by the whole-exome sequencing of 121 hospitalized patients. These 10 genes showed significant enrichment in predicted pathogenic point mutations in severe patients compared with the non-severe ones. Moreover, in the TNFRSF13C gene, the minor allele of the p.His159Tyr variant, which is known to increase NF-kB activation and B-cell production, was significantly more frequent in the 38 severe cases compared to both the 83 non-severe patients and the 375 asymptomatic subjects further genotyped. This finding identified a potential genetic risk factor of severe COVID-19 that not only may serve to unravel the mechanisms underlying the disease severity but, also, may contribute to build the rationale for individualized management based on B-cell therapy.


Subject(s)
B-Cell Activation Factor Receptor/genetics , COVID-19/etiology , COVID-19/genetics , Female , Gene Frequency , Humans , Italy , Male , Middle Aged , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , Retrospective Studies , Severity of Illness Index
4.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(10)2021 May 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1244036

ABSTRACT

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) found locus 3p21.31 associated with severe COVID-19. CCR5 resides at the same locus and, given its known biological role in other infection diseases, we investigated if common noncoding and rare coding variants, affecting CCR5, can predispose to severe COVID-19. We combined single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that met the suggestive significance level (P ≤ 1 × 10-5) at the 3p21.31 locus in public GWAS datasets (6406 COVID-19 hospitalized patients and 902,088 controls) with gene expression data from 208 lung tissues, Hi-C, and Chip-seq data. Through whole exome sequencing (WES), we explored rare coding variants in 147 severe COVID-19 patients. We identified three SNPs (rs9845542, rs12639314, and rs35951367) associated with severe COVID-19 whose risk alleles correlated with low CCR5 expression in lung tissues. The rs35951367 resided in a CTFC binding site that interacts with CCR5 gene in lung tissues and was confirmed to be associated with severe COVID-19 in two independent datasets. We also identified a rare coding variant (rs34418657) associated with the risk of developing severe COVID-19. Our results suggest a biological role of CCR5 in the progression of COVID-19 as common and rare genetic variants can increase the risk of developing severe COVID-19 by affecting the functions of CCR5.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Genetic Predisposition to Disease , Receptors, CCR5/genetics , Receptors, CCR5/metabolism , Alleles , Bronchi/metabolism , Bronchi/pathology , Bronchi/virology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Chromosomes, Human/genetics , Cohort Studies , Computational Biology , Databases, Genetic , Genome-Wide Association Study , Genotype , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , Whole Exome Sequencing
5.
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 350, 2021 Apr 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1186555

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 infection has emerged as a rapidly spreading infection. Today it is relatively easy to isolate Covid-19 symptomatic cases, while remains problematic to control the disease spread by infected but symptom-free individuals. The control of this possible path of contagion requires drastic measures of social distancing, which imply the suspension of most activities and generate economic and social issues. This study is aimed at estimating the percentage of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection in a geographic area with relatively low incidence of Covid-19. METHODS: Blood serum samples from 388 healthy volunteers were analyzed for the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG by using an ELISA assay based on recombinant viral nucleocapsid protein. RESULTS: We found that 7 out of 388 healthy volunteers, who declared no symptoms of Covid-19, like fever, cough, fatigue etc., in the preceding 5 months, have bona fide serum anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG, that is 1.8% of the asymptomatic population (95% confidence interval: 0.69-2.91%). CONCLUSIONS: The estimated range of asymptomatic individuals with anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG should be between 26,565 and 112, 350. In the same geographic area, there are 4665 symptomatic diagnosed cases.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Asymptomatic Infections , COVID-19/epidemiology , Adult , Aged , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Incidence , Italy/epidemiology , Middle Aged , Young Adult
6.
iScience ; 24(4): 102322, 2021 Apr 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1144743

ABSTRACT

The established risk factors of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are advanced age, male sex, and comorbidities, but they do not fully explain the wide spectrum of disease manifestations. Genetic factors implicated in the host antiviral response provide for novel insights into its pathogenesis. We performed an in-depth genetic analysis of chromosome 21 exploiting the genome-wide association study data, including 6,406 individuals hospitalized for COVID-19 and 902,088 controls with European genetic ancestry from the COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative. We found that five single nucleotide polymorphisms within TMPRSS2 and near MX1 gene show associations with severe COVID-19. The minor alleles of the five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) correlated with a reduced risk of developing severe COVID-19 and high level of MX1 expression in blood. Our findings demonstrate that host genetic factors can influence the different clinical presentations of COVID-19 and that MX1 could be a potential therapeutic target.

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