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Front Physiol ; 12: 652198, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1229227


The detrimental effects of tobacco exposure on children's health are well known. Nonetheless, the prevalence of secondhand or direct cigarette smoke exposure (CSE) in the pediatric population has not significantly decreased over time. On the contrary, the rapid incline in use of e-cigarettes among adolescents has evoked public health concerns since increasing cases of vaping-induced acute lung injury have highlighted the potential harm of these new "smoking" devices. Two pediatric populations are especially vulnerable to the detrimental effects of cigarette smoke. The first group is former premature infants whose risk is elevated both due to their prematurity as well as other risk factors such as oxygen and mechanical ventilation to which they are disproportionately exposed. The second group is children and adolescents with chronic respiratory diseases, in particular asthma and other wheezing disorders. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a spectrum of diseases caused by infection with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that has spread worldwide over the last year. Here, respiratory symptoms ranging from mild to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are at the forefront of COVID-19 cases among adults, and cigarette smoking is associated with worse outcomes in this population, and cigarette smoking is associated with worse outcomes in this population. Interestingly, SARS-CoV-2 infection affects children differently in regard to infection susceptibility, disease manifestations, and complications. Although children carry and transmit the virus, the likelihood of symptomatic infection is low, and the rates of hospitalization and death are even lower when compared to the adult population. However, multisystem inflammatory syndrome is recognized as a serious consequence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the pediatric population. In addition, recent data demonstrate specific clinical patterns in children infected with SARS-CoV-2 who develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome vs. severe COVID-19. In this review, we highlight the pulmonary effects of CSE in vulnerable pediatric populations in the context of the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol ; 319(5): L843-L847, 2020 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-809034


The incidence, severity, and mortality of ongoing coronavirus infectious disease 19 (COVID-19) is greater in men compared with women, but the underlying factors contributing to this sex difference are still being explored. In the current study, using primary isolated human airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells from normal males versus females as a model, we explored the effect of estrogen versus testosterone in modulating the expression of angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a cell entry point for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Using confocal imaging, we found that ACE2 is expressed in human ASM. Furthermore, Western analysis of ASM cell lysates showed significantly lower ACE2 expression in females compared with males at baseline. In addition, ASM cells exposed to estrogen and testosterone for 24 h showed that testosterone significantly upregulates ACE2 expression in both males and females, whereas estrogen downregulates ACE2, albeit not significant compared with vehicle. These intrinsic and sex steroids induced differences may help explain sex differences in COVID-19.

Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/biosynthesis , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Respiratory System/metabolism , Adult , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Cells, Cultured , Coronavirus Infections/enzymology , Estrogens/metabolism , Estrogens/pharmacology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Myocytes, Smooth Muscle/cytology , Myocytes, Smooth Muscle/drug effects , Myocytes, Smooth Muscle/enzymology , Myocytes, Smooth Muscle/metabolism , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/enzymology , Respiratory System/cytology , Respiratory System/drug effects , Respiratory System/enzymology , Sex Factors , Testosterone/metabolism , Testosterone/pharmacology