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Nature ; 599(7884): 283-289, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1404888


Derailed cytokine and immune cell networks account for the organ damage and the clinical severity of COVID-19 (refs. 1-4). Here we show that SARS-CoV-2, like other viruses, evokes cellular senescence as a primary stress response in infected cells. Virus-induced senescence (VIS) is indistinguishable from other forms of cellular senescence and is accompanied by a senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), which comprises pro-inflammatory cytokines, extracellular-matrix-active factors and pro-coagulatory mediators5-7. Patients with COVID-19 displayed markers of senescence in their airway mucosa in situ and increased serum levels of SASP factors. In vitro assays demonstrated macrophage activation with SASP-reminiscent secretion, complement lysis and SASP-amplifying secondary senescence of endothelial cells, which mirrored hallmark features of COVID-19 such as macrophage and neutrophil infiltration, endothelial damage and widespread thrombosis in affected lung tissue1,8,9. Moreover, supernatant from VIS cells, including SARS-CoV-2-induced senescence, induced neutrophil extracellular trap formation and activation of platelets and the clotting cascade. Senolytics such as navitoclax and a combination of dasatinib plus quercetin selectively eliminated VIS cells, mitigated COVID-19-reminiscent lung disease and reduced inflammation in SARS-CoV-2-infected hamsters and mice. Our findings mark VIS as a pathogenic trigger of COVID-19-related cytokine escalation and organ damage, and suggest that senolytic targeting of virus-infected cells is a treatment option against SARS-CoV-2 and perhaps other viral infections.

COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cellular Senescence/drug effects , Molecular Targeted Therapy , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Aniline Compounds/pharmacology , Aniline Compounds/therapeutic use , Animals , COVID-19/complications , Cell Line , Cricetinae , Dasatinib/pharmacology , Dasatinib/therapeutic use , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Humans , Male , Mice , Quercetin/pharmacology , Quercetin/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Sulfonamides/pharmacology , Sulfonamides/therapeutic use , Thrombosis/complications , Thrombosis/immunology , Thrombosis/metabolism
Cardiovasc Pathol ; 49: 107263, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-650406


Since its recognition in December 2019, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 has rapidly spread globally causing a pandemic that represents the greatest medical challenge in decades. The aim of the study was to evaluate the spectrum of cardiopulmonary pathology of COVID-19 based on (non-minimal invasive) autopsies performed on 14 COVID-19 decedents. Bilateral diffuse alveolar damage (DAD) was found in all patients. Superimposed acute bronchopneumonia was present in 11 of 14 (78.6%) patients and was considered the major cause of death in 2 patients. A key finding was the presence of thrombotic/thromboembolic vascular occlusions. We classified 5 types of pulmonary thrombi: 1. capillary microthrombi (11/14, 78.6%); 2. partially organized thrombi in mid-sized pulmonary arteries with complete vessel occlusion; 3. non-organized thrombi in mid-sized pulmonary arteries that did not completely fill out the vessel lumen and probably represented thromboemboli rather than thrombosis; 4. bone marrow emboli (1/14, 7.1%); and 5. septic pulmonary thromboemboli (1/14, 7.1%). Pulmonary thrombi in mid-sized arteries were noted in 5 of 14 (35.7%) patients, causing pulmonary infarction and/or pulmonary hemorrhage. All patients had evidence of chronic cardiac disease, including myocardial hypertrophy (13/14, 92.9%), mild to marked coronary artery atherosclerosis (14/14, 100%) and focal myocardial fibrosis (3/14, 21.4%). Acute myocardial infarction was found as concurrent cause of death in 3 (21.4%) patients, and significant cardiac hypertrophy (heart weight 750 g) was present in 1 (7.1%) patient with ATTR-positive cardiac amyloidosis. The autopsy findings confirm that COVID-19 is a systemic disease, with major involvement of the lungs, that increases the risk of cardiac and vascular complications including acute myocardial injury and thrombotic/thromboembolic events. Secondary acute bronchopneumonia is a common complication in patients with COVID-19 and may be the major cause of death.

Bronchopneumonia/pathology , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Pulmonary Artery/pathology , Thrombosis/pathology , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Autopsy , Betacoronavirus , Bronchopneumonia/virology , COVID-19 , Female , Humans , Incidence , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pulmonary Embolism/pathology , Pulmonary Embolism/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Thrombosis/virology