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1.
Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol ; 260(5): 1789-1797, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1787813

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: To detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA in post-mortem human eyes. Ocular symptoms are common in patients with COVID-19. In some cases, they can occur before the onset of respiratory and other symptoms. Accordingly, SARS-CoV-2 RNA has been detected in conjunctival samples and tear film of patients suffering from COVID-19. However, the detection and clinical relevance of intravitreal SARS-CoV-2 RNA still remain unclear due to so far contradictory reports in the literature. METHODS: In our study 20 patients with confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 were evaluated post-mortem to assess the conjunctival and intraocular presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA using sterile pulmonary and conjunctival swabs as well as intravitreal biopsies (IVB) via needle puncture. SARS-CoV-2 PCR and whole genome sequencing from the samples of the deceased patients were performed. Medical history and comorbidities of all subjects were recorded and analyzed for correlations with viral data. RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in 10 conjunctival (50%) and 6 vitreal (30%) samples. SARS-CoV-2 whole genome sequencing showed the distribution of cases largely reflecting the frequency of circulating lineages in the Munich area at the time of examination with no preponderance of specific variants. Especially there was no association between the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in IVBs and infection with the variant of concern (VOC) alpha. Viral load in bronchial samples correlated positively with load in conjunctiva but not the vitreous. CONCLUSION: SARS-CoV-2 RNA can be detected post mortem in conjunctival tissues and IVBs. This is relevant to the planning of ophthalmologic surgical procedures in COVID-19 patients, such as pars plana vitrectomy or corneal transplantation. Furthermore, not only during surgery but also in an outpatient setting it is important to emphasize the need for personal protection in order to avoid infection and spreading of SARS-CoV-2. Prospective studies are needed, especially to determine the clinical relevance of conjunctival and intravitreal SARS-CoV-2 detection concerning intraocular affection in active COVID-19 state and in post-COVID syndrome.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Conjunctiva , Humans , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Tears/chemistry
2.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 1589, 2022 03 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1764177

ABSTRACT

Progressive respiratory failure and hyperinflammatory response is the primary cause of death in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Despite mounting evidence of disruption of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis in COVID-19, relatively little is known about the tropism of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to adrenal glands and associated changes. Here we demonstrate adrenal viral tropism and replication in COVID-19 patients. Adrenal glands showed inflammation accompanied by inflammatory cell death. Histopathologic analysis revealed widespread microthrombosis and severe adrenal injury. In addition, activation of the glycerophospholipid metabolism and reduction of cortisone intensities were characteristic for COVID-19 specimens. In conclusion, our autopsy series suggests that SARS-CoV-2 facilitates the induction of adrenalitis. Given the central role of adrenal glands in immunoregulation and taking into account the significant adrenal injury observed, monitoring of developing adrenal insufficiency might be essential in acute SARS-CoV-2 infection and during recovery.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Autopsy , Humans , Research , SARS-CoV-2 , Tropism
3.
Infection ; 2021 Oct 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1491465

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: To investigate the expression of the receptor protein ACE-2 alongside the urinary tract, urinary shedding and urinary stability of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. METHODS: Immunohistochemical staining was performed on tissue from urological surgery of 10 patients. Further, patients treated for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at specialized care-units of a university hospital were assessed for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in urinary samples via PCR, disease severity (WHO score), inflammatory response of patients. Finally, the stability of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in urine was analyzed. RESULTS: High ACE-2 expression (3/3) was observed in the tubules of the kidney and prostate glands, moderate expression in urothelial cells of the bladder (0-2/3) and no expression in kidney glomeruli, muscularis of the bladder and stroma of the prostate (0/3). SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in 5/199 urine samples from 64 patients. Viral RNA was detected in the first urinary sample of sequential samples. Viral RNA load from other specimen as nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS) or endotracheal aspirates revealed higher levels than from urine. Detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in urine was not associated with impaired WHO score (median 5, range 3-8 vs median 4, range 1-8, p = 0.314), peak white blood cell count (median 24.1 × 1000/ml, range 5.19-48.1 versus median 11.9 × 1000/ml, range 2.9-60.3, p = 0.307), peak CRP (median 20.7 mg/dl, 4.2-40.2 versus median 11.9 mg/dl, range 0.1-51.9, p = 0.316) or peak IL-6 levels (median: 1442 ng/ml, range 26.7-3918 versus median 140 ng/ml, range 3.0-11,041, p = 0.099). SARS-CoV-2 RNA was stable under different storage conditions and after freeze-thaw cycles. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the urine of COVID-19 patients occurs infrequently. The viral RNA load and dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 RNA shedding suggest no relevant route of transmission through the urinary tract.

4.
J Thromb Haemost ; 19(2): 574-581, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-939789

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can lead to severe pneumonia, but also thrombotic complications and non-pulmonary organ failure. Recent studies suggest intravascular neutrophil activation and subsequent immune cell-triggered immunothrombosis as a central pathomechanism linking the heterogenous clinical picture of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We sought to study whether immunothrombosis is a pathognomonic factor in COVID-19 or a general feature of (viral) pneumonia, as well as to better understand its upstream regulation. APPROACH AND RESULTS: By comparing histopathological specimens of SARS-CoV-2 with influenza-affected lungs, we show that vascular neutrophil recruitment, NETosis, and subsequent immunothrombosis are typical features of severe COVID-19, but less prominent in influenza pneumonia. Activated neutrophils were typically found in physical association with monocytes. To explore this further, we combined clinical data of COVID-19 cases with comprehensive immune cell phenotyping and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid scRNA-seq data. We show that a HLADRlow CD9low monocyte population expands in severe COVID-19, which releases neutrophil chemokines in the lungs, and might in turn explain neutrophil expansion and pulmonary recruitment in the late stages of severe COVID-19. CONCLUSIONS: Our data underline an innate immune cell axis causing vascular inflammation and immunothrombosis in severe SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Innate , Influenza, Human/immunology , Lung/immunology , Neutrophils/immunology , Thrombosis/immunology , Vasculitis/immunology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/virology , Diagnosis, Differential , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Influenza, Human/diagnosis , Influenza, Human/virology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Neutrophils/virology , Predictive Value of Tests , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Thrombosis/virology , Vasculitis/virology
5.
Circulation ; 142(12): 1176-1189, 2020 09 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-696368

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 infection causes severe pneumonia (coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19]), but the mechanisms of subsequent respiratory failure and complicating renal and myocardial involvement are poorly understood. In addition, a systemic prothrombotic phenotype has been reported in patients with COVID-19. METHODS: A total of 62 subjects were included in our study (n=38 patients with reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction-confirmed COVID-19 and n=24 non-COVID-19 controls). We performed histopathologic assessment of autopsy cases, surface marker-based phenotyping of neutrophils and platelets, and functional assays for platelet, neutrophil functions, and coagulation tests, as well. RESULTS: We provide evidence that organ involvement and prothrombotic features in COVID-19 are linked by immunothrombosis. We show that, in COVID-19, inflammatory microvascular thrombi are present in the lung, kidney, and heart, containing neutrophil extracellular traps associated with platelets and fibrin. Patients with COVID-19 also present with neutrophil-platelet aggregates and a distinct neutrophil and platelet activation pattern in blood, which changes with disease severity. Whereas cases of intermediate severity show an exhausted platelet and hyporeactive neutrophil phenotype, patients severely affected with COVID-19 are characterized by excessive platelet and neutrophil activation in comparison with healthy controls and non-COVID-19 pneumonia. Dysregulated immunothrombosis in severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 pneumonia is linked to both acute respiratory distress syndrome and systemic hypercoagulability. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our data point to immunothrombotic dysregulation as a key marker of disease severity in COVID-19. Further work is necessary to determine the role of immunothrombosis in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Respiratory Insufficiency/etiology , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Blood Coagulation Disorders/diagnosis , Blood Coagulation Disorders/etiology , Blood Platelets/cytology , Blood Platelets/metabolism , Blood Platelets/pathology , COVID-19 , Case-Control Studies , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Extracellular Traps/metabolism , Humans , Kidney/pathology , Lung/pathology , Neutrophils/cytology , Neutrophils/metabolism , Neutrophils/pathology , Pandemics , Phenotype , Platelet Activation , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Respiratory Insufficiency/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Thrombosis/complications , Thrombosis/diagnosis
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