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FASEB J ; 35(12): e21969, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1532548


Several evidence suggests that, in addition to the respiratory tract, also the gastrointestinal tract is a main site of severe acute respiratory syndrome CoronaVirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, as an example of a multi-organ vascular damage, likely associated with poor prognosis. To assess mechanisms SARS-CoV-2 responsible of tissue infection and vascular injury, correlating with thrombotic damage, specimens of the digestive tract positive for SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein were analyzed deriving from three patients, negative to naso-oro-pharyngeal swab for SARS-CoV-2. These COVID-19-negative patients came to clinical observation due to urgent abdominal surgery that removed different sections of the digestive tract after thrombotic events. Immunohistochemical for the expression of SARS-CoV-2 combined with a panel of SARS-CoV-2 related proteins angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor, cluster of differentiation 147 (CD147), human leukocyte antigen-G (HLA-G), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and matrix metalloproteinase-9 was performed. Tissue samples were also evaluated by electron microscopy for ultrastructural virus localization and cell characterization. The damage of the tissue was assessed by ultrastructural analysis. It has been observed that CD147 expression levels correlate with SARS-CoV-2 infection extent, vascular damage and an increased expression of VEGF and thrombosis. The confirmation of CD147 co-localization with SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein binding on gastrointestinal tissues and the reduction of the infection level in intestinal epithelial cells after CD147 neutralization, suggest CD147 as a possible key factor for viral susceptibility of gastrointestinal tissue. The presence of SARS-CoV-2 infection of gastrointestinal tissue might be consequently implicated in abdominal thrombosis, where VEGF might mediate the vascular damage.

Basigin/metabolism , COVID-19/complications , Digestive System Diseases/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Thrombosis/pathology , Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A/metabolism , Aged , Basigin/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Digestive System Diseases/genetics , Digestive System Diseases/metabolism , Digestive System Diseases/virology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Prognosis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Thrombosis/genetics , Thrombosis/metabolism , Thrombosis/virology , Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A/genetics
J Intern Med ; 291(2): 224-231, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1373836


BACKGROUND: Asymptomatic patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can develop hypercoagulable conditions and acute vascular events. The objective of this study is to determine whether SARS-CoV-2 was present in resected specimens from patients with acute bowel ischemia, but asymptomatic for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and with persistently real-time polymerase chain reaction negative pharyngeal swab. METHODS: Three consecutive patients presented severe abdominal symptoms due to extensive ischemia and necrosis of the bowel, with co-existent thrombosis of abdominal blood vessels. None had the usual manifestations of COVID-19, and repeated pharyngeal swabs tested negative. They underwent emergency surgery with intestinal resection. Immunohistochemical testing for SARS-CoV-2 on resected tissue was performed. RESULTS: All tested samples were strongly positive for SARS-CoV-2. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first case report in which patients with severe intestinal symptoms presented a marked SARS-CoV-2 positivity in the resected tissues, without any usual clinical manifestations of COVID-19. These results suggest that the patients might be infected with SARS-CoV-2 presenting acute abdominal distress but without respiratory or constitutional symptoms.

COVID-19 , Intestine, Large/pathology , Ischemia , COVID-19/pathology , Humans , Ischemia/diagnosis , Ischemia/virology , Necrosis , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Thrombosis
Minerva Surg ; 77(1): 14-21, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1337897


BACKGROUND: COVID-19 pandemic has impacted professional, economic and social activities. In the surgical field, it has brought changes to operating activities, the organization of workforces, the protection measures for patients and personnel against possible intraoperative transmissions as well as training young surgeons. This study intends to assess the extent of this impact in our institution. METHODS: The patients operated on in nine Operating Units (OUs) in the period February 1 - March 31, 2020, with follow-ups on April 30, 2020, were evaluated both retrospectively and prospectively. Organizational, clinical and impact parameters on staff were evaluated. RESULTS: Of the 833 consecutive admitted patients, 742 were operated on, 705 of whom were recruited for the study. Compared to the same period in 2019 there was a decrease in the number of operations (742 compared to 1187), similar use of intensive care unit (ICU), a diagnostic activity only for symptomatic patients, heterogeneity in organizational behaviors, an impact on staff who highlighted concerns about getting sick or passing the infection on to others (87.64%) or their family members (75.14%). CONCLUSIONS: The present study made it possible to detect the need to make significant changes in the clinical, organizational and teaching fields, for which some operational proposals are suggested.

COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Pandemics/prevention & control , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2