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Cell Mol Life Sci ; 79(6): 309, 2022 May 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1919755


Blood clot formation induced by dysfunctional coagulation is a frequent complication of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and a high-risk factor for severe illness and death. Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are implicated in COVID-19-induced immunothrombosis. Furthermore, human cathelicidin, a NET component, can perturb the interaction between the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and its ACE2 receptor, which mediates viral entry into cells. At present, however, the levels of cathelicidin antimicrobial peptides after SARS-CoV-2 infection and their role in COVID-19 thrombosis formation remain unclear. In the current study, we analyzed coagulation function and found a decrease in thrombin time but an increase in fibrinogen level, prothrombin time, and activated partial thromboplastin time in COVID-19 patients. In addition, the cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide LL-37 was upregulated by the spike protein and significantly elevated in the plasma of patients. Furthermore, LL-37 levels were negatively correlated with thrombin time but positively correlated with fibrinogen level. In addition to platelet activation, cathelicidin peptides enhanced the activity of coagulation factors, such as factor Xa (FXa) and thrombin, which may induce hypercoagulation in diseases with high cathelicidin peptide levels. Injection of cathelicidin peptides promoted the formation of thrombosis, whereas deletion of cathelicidin inhibited thrombosis in vivo. These results suggest that cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide LL-37 is elevated during SARS-CoV-2 infection, which may induce hypercoagulation in COVID-19 patients by activating coagulation factors.

Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides , COVID-19 , Thrombosis , Blood Coagulation Factors , COVID-19/complications , Fibrinogen , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Thrombosis/virology , Cathelicidins
J Pain Symptom Manage ; 60(3): e1-e6, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-639399


CONTEXT: Hospice care focuses on improving the quality of end-of-life care and respecting patients' preferences regarding end-of-life treatment. The impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the utilization of hospice services is unknown. OBJECTIVES: To investigate the utilization of hospice care services before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: All patients (n = 19,900) cared for at Taipei City Hospital from January 2019 to April 2020 were divided into three time points: January-April 2019 (before COVID-19), May-December 2019 (interim), and January-April 2020 (during COVID-19). This cohort study compared the monthly utilization of hospice services before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. RESULTS: There was no significant difference in hospice home visits (194 vs. 184; P = 0.686) and new enrollments (15 vs. 14; P = 0.743) to hospice home care before and during the pandemic. However, the bed occupancy rate in hospice units in the hospital was significantly reduced from 66.2% before the pandemic to 37.4% during the pandemic (P = 0.029), whereas that in nonhospice units had a nonsignificant decrease from 81.6% before the pandemic to 71.8% during the pandemic (P = 0.086). During the pandemic, the number of inpatient days was affected more severely in hospice units than in nonhospice units (-42.4% vs. -10.9%; P = 0.029). CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that hospice home care services were maintained during the COVID-19 pandemic, while the utilization of hospice inpatient care services reduced. Home care for hospice patients is an essential component of palliative care during a pandemic.

Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Home Care Services/statistics & numerical data , Hospice Care/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 , Cohort Studies , Facilities and Services Utilization , Female , Humans , Length of Stay/statistics & numerical data , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Taiwan