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1.
PLoS Pathog ; 18(7): e1010618, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1923717

ABSTRACT

The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 emerged in late 2019, rapidly reached pandemic status, and has maintained global ubiquity through the emergence of variants of concern. Efforts to develop animal models have mostly fallen short of recapitulating severe disease, diminishing their utility for research focusing on severe disease pathogenesis and life-saving medical countermeasures. We tested whether route of experimental infection substantially changes COVID-19 disease characteristics in two species of nonhuman primates (Macaca mulatta; rhesus macaques; RM, Chlorocebus atheiops; African green monkeys; AGM). Species-specific cohorts were experimentally infected with SARS-CoV-2 by either direct mucosal (intratracheal + intranasal) instillation or small particle aerosol in route-discrete subcohorts. Both species demonstrated analogous viral loads in all compartments by either exposure route although the magnitude and duration of viral loading was marginally greater in AGMs than RMs. Clinical onset was nearly immediate (+1dpi) in the mucosal exposure cohort whereas clinical signs and cytokine responses in aerosol exposure animals began +7dpi. Pathologies conserved in both species and both exposure modalities include pulmonary myeloid cell influx, development of pleuritis, and extended lack of regenerative capacity in the pulmonary compartment. Demonstration of conserved pulmonary pathology regardless of species and exposure route expands our understanding of how SARS-CoV-2 infection may lead to ARDS and/or functional lung damage and demonstrates the near clinical response of the nonhuman primate model for anti-fibrotic therapeutic evaluation studies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Aerosols , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Lung/pathology , Macaca mulatta , SARS-CoV-2
2.
Frontiers in immunology ; 12, 2021.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1610187

ABSTRACT

Infection with the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, results in pneumonia and other respiratory symptoms as well as pathologies at diverse anatomical sites. An outstanding question is whether these diverse pathologies are due to replication of the virus in these anatomical compartments and how and when the virus reaches those sites. To answer these outstanding questions and study the spatiotemporal dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 infection a method for tracking viral spread in vivo is needed. We developed a novel, fluorescently labeled, antibody-based in vivo probe system using the anti-spike monoclonal antibody CR3022 and demonstrated that it could successfully identify sites of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a rhesus macaque model of COVID-19. Our results showed that the fluorescent signal from our antibody-based probe could differentiate whole lungs of macaques infected for 9 days from those infected for 2 or 3 days. Additionally, the probe signal corroborated the frequency and density of infected cells in individual tissue blocks from infected macaques. These results provide proof of concept for the use of in vivo antibody-based probes to study SARS-CoV-2 infection dynamics in rhesus macaques.

3.
Viruses ; 13(8)2021 08 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1341730

ABSTRACT

The emergence and ensuing dominance of COVID-19 on the world stage has emphasized the urgency of efficient animal models for the development of therapeutics for and assessment of immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Shortcomings of current animal models for SARS-CoV-2 include limited lower respiratory disease, divergence from clinical COVID-19 disease, and requirements for host genetic modifications to permit infection. In this study, n = 12 specific-pathogen-free domestic cats were infected intratracheally with SARS-CoV-2 to evaluate clinical disease, histopathologic lesions, and viral infection kinetics at 4 and 8 days post-inoculation; n = 6 sham-inoculated cats served as controls. Intratracheal inoculation of SARS-CoV-2 produced a significant degree of clinical disease (lethargy, fever, dyspnea, and dry cough) consistent with that observed in the early exudative phase of COVID-19. Pulmonary lesions such as diffuse alveolar damage, hyaline membrane formation, fibrin deposition, and proteinaceous exudates were also observed with SARS-CoV-2 infection, replicating lesions identified in people hospitalized with ARDS from COVID-19. A significant correlation was observed between the degree of clinical disease identified in infected cats and pulmonary lesions. Viral loads and ACE2 expression were also quantified in nasal turbinates, distal trachea, lungs, and other organs. Results of this study validate a feline model for SARS-CoV-2 infection that results in clinical disease and histopathologic lesions consistent with acute COVID-19 in humans, thus encouraging its use for future translational studies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cats , Disease Models, Animal , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Genome, Viral , Humans , Lung/enzymology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Lymph Nodes/virology , Male , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms , Trachea/enzymology , Trachea/virology , Turbinates/enzymology , Turbinates/virology
4.
Theranostics ; 11(16): 8076-8091, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1337802

ABSTRACT

Rationale: Pulmonary vascular endotheliitis, perivascular inflammation, and immune activation are observed in COVID-19 patients. While the initial SARS-CoV-2 infection mainly infects lung epithelial cells, whether it also infects endothelial cells (ECs) and to what extent SARS-CoV-2-mediated pulmonary vascular endotheliitis is associated with immune activation remain to be determined. Methods: To address these questions, we studied SARS-CoV-2-infected K18-hACE2 (K18) mice, a severe COVID-19 mouse model, as well as lung samples from SARS-CoV-2-infected nonhuman primates (NHP) and patient deceased from COVID-19. We used immunostaining, RNAscope, and electron microscopy to analyze the organs collected from animals and patient. We conducted bulk and single cell (sc) RNA-seq analyses, and cytokine profiling of lungs or serum of the severe COVID-19 mice. Results: We show that SARS-CoV-2-infected K18 mice develop severe COVID-19, including progressive body weight loss and fatality at 7 days, severe lung interstitial inflammation, edema, hemorrhage, perivascular inflammation, systemic lymphocytopenia, and eosinopenia. Body weight loss in K18 mice correlated with the severity of pneumonia, but not with brain infection. We also observed endothelial activation and dysfunction in pulmonary vessels evidenced by the up-regulation of VCAM1 and ICAM1 and the downregulation of VE-cadherin. We detected SARS-CoV-2 in capillary ECs, activation and adhesion of platelets and immune cells to the vascular wall of the alveolar septa, and increased complement deposition in the lungs, in both COVID-19-murine and NHP models. We also revealed that pathways of coagulation, complement, K-ras signaling, and genes of ICAM1 and VCAM1 related to EC dysfunction and injury were upregulated, and were associated with massive immune activation in the lung and circulation. Conclusion: Together, our results indicate that SARS-CoV-2 causes endotheliitis via both infection and infection-mediated immune activation, which may contribute to the pathogenesis of severe COVID-19 disease.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Animals , COVID-19/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Endothelial Cells/immunology , Endothelial Cells/virology , Epithelial Cells/immunology , Epithelial Cells/virology , Lung/pathology , Mice , Mice, Inbred Strains , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
5.
Front Cell Infect Microbiol ; 11: 701278, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1325517

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection can cause fatal inflammatory lung pathology, including thrombosis and increased pulmonary vascular permeability leading to edema and hemorrhage. In addition to the lung, cytokine storm-induced inflammatory cascade also affects other organs. SARS-CoV-2 infection-related vascular inflammation is characterized by endotheliopathy in the lung and other organs. Whether SARS-CoV-2 causes endotheliopathy by directly infecting endothelial cells is not known and is the focus of the present study. We observed 1) the co-localization of SARS-CoV-2 with the endothelial cell marker CD31 in the lungs of SARS-CoV-2-infected mice expressing hACE2 in the lung by intranasal delivery of adenovirus 5-hACE2 (Ad5-hACE2 mice) and non-human primates at both the protein and RNA levels, and 2) SARS-CoV-2 proteins in endothelial cells by immunogold labeling and electron microscopic analysis. We also detected the co-localization of SARS-CoV-2 with CD31 in autopsied lung tissue obtained from patients who died from severe COVID-19. Comparative analysis of RNA sequencing data of the lungs of infected Ad5-hACE2 and Ad5-empty (control) mice revealed upregulated KRAS signaling pathway, a well-known pathway for cellular activation and dysfunction. Further, we showed that SARS-CoV-2 directly infects mature mouse aortic endothelial cells (AoECs) that were activated by performing an aortic sprouting assay prior to exposure to SARS-CoV-2. This was demonstrated by co-localization of SARS-CoV-2 and CD34 by immunostaining and detection of viral particles in electron microscopic studies. Moreover, the activated AoECs became positive for ACE-2 but not quiescent AoECs. Together, our results indicate that in addition to pneumocytes, SARS-CoV-2 also directly infects mature vascular endothelial cells in vivo and ex vivo, which may contribute to cardiovascular complications in SARS-CoV-2 infection, including multipleorgan failure.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Disease Models, Animal , Endothelial Cells , Humans , Lung , Mice , Mice, Transgenic
6.
Am J Pathol ; 191(2): 274-282, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1064773

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) induces a wide range of disease severity, ranging from asymptomatic infection to a life-threating illness, particularly in the elderly population and individuals with comorbid conditions. Among individuals with serious coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) disease, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a common and often fatal presentation. Animal models of SARS-CoV-2 infection that manifest severe disease are needed to investigate the pathogenesis of COVID-19-induced ARDS and evaluate therapeutic strategies. We report two cases of ARDS in two aged African green monkeys (AGMs) infected with SARS-CoV-2 that had pathological lesions and disease similar to severe COVID-19 in humans. We also report a comparatively mild COVID-19 phenotype characterized by minor clinical, radiographic, and histopathologic changes in the two surviving, aged AGMs and four rhesus macaques (RMs) infected with SARS-CoV-2. Notable increases in circulating cytokines were observed in three of four infected, aged AGMs but not in infected RMs. All the AGMs had increased levels of plasma IL-6 compared with baseline, a predictive marker and presumptive therapeutic target in humans infected with SARS-CoV-2. Together, our results indicate that both RMs and AGMs are capable of modeling SARS-CoV-2 infection and suggest that aged AGMs may be useful for modeling severe disease manifestations, including ARDS.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/etiology , Lung/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Aging , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops/virology , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Cytokines/metabolism , Humans , Lung/pathology , Macaca mulatta/virology , Viral Load/methods
7.
Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol ; 64(1): 79-88, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1004249

ABSTRACT

Preclinical mouse models that recapitulate some characteristics of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will facilitate focused study of pathogenesis and virus-host responses. Human agniotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) serves as an entry receptor for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to infect people via binding to envelope spike proteins. Herein we report development and characterization of a rapidly deployable COVID-19 mouse model. C57BL/6J (B6) mice expressing hACE2 in the lung were transduced by oropharyngeal delivery of the recombinant human adenovirus type 5 that expresses hACE2 (Ad5-hACE2). Mice were infected with SARS-CoV-2 at Day 4 after transduction and developed interstitial pneumonia associated with perivascular inflammation, accompanied by significantly higher viral load in lungs at Days 3, 6, and 12 after infection compared with Ad5-empty control group. SARS-CoV-2 was detected in pneumocytes in alveolar septa. Transcriptomic analysis of lungs demonstrated that the infected Ad5-hACE mice had a significant increase in IFN-dependent chemokines Cxcl9 and Cxcl10, and genes associated with effector T-cell populations including Cd3 g, Cd8a, and Gzmb. Pathway analysis showed that several Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways were enriched in the data set, including cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction, the chemokine signaling pathway, the NOD-like receptor signaling pathway, the measles pathway, and the IL-17 signaling pathway. This response is correlative to clinical response in lungs of patients with COVID-19. These results demonstrate that expression of hACE2 via adenovirus delivery system sensitized the mouse to SARS-CoV-2 infection and resulted in the development of a mild COVID-19 phenotype, highlighting the immune and inflammatory host responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection. This rapidly deployable COVID-19 mouse model is useful for preclinical and pathogenesis studies of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Alveolar Epithelial Cells/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Gene Expression , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Signal Transduction/immunology , Adenoviridae/genetics , Adenoviridae/metabolism , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/virology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Cytokines/genetics , Cytokines/immunology , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Signal Transduction/genetics , Transduction, Genetic
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