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PeerJ ; 10: e13384, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1934569


Objective: To investigate the impact of COVID-19 social distancing on medical research from the perspective of postgraduate students. Methods: A cross-sectional study using an online survey was conducted from October 31 to November 1, 2021. A questionnaire was used to assess the impact of COVID-19 social distancing on medical research among postgraduate students. The questionnaire included basic information, medical research information, and information about social distancing measures. Participants also completed the self-made Research Work Affected Scale of Postgraduates (RWAS-P; qualitative evaluation: very mildly 0-10; mildly 11-20; moderately 21-30; severely 31-40; very severely 41-50). Logistic regression was used to identify factors related to the impact of COVID-19 social distancing. Results: A total of 468 participants were analyzed; 95.2% of the participants adhered to social distancing measures. The median total RWAS-P score was 22. The median RWAS-P scores for earlier research data, current research projects, future research plans, paper publication, and graduation schedule were 2, 6, 6, 6, and 4, respectively (score range 0-10). The higher grade of students, experimental research, and existence of inappetence or sleeplessness were related to negative attitude towards COVID-19 social distancing (odd ratio = 6.35, 9.80, 2.31, 2.15, 1.95, respectively). Conclusions: Participants reported that social distancing had a moderate overall impact on their medical research. Social distancing had the greatest impact on current research projects, future research plans, and paper publications among postgraduate students. Higher grade level, experimental research type, inappetence, and sleeplessness were related to the impact of social distancing on their medical research.

Mol Cell Endocrinol ; 529: 111260, 2021 06 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1157602


Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a component of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), has been identified as the receptor for the SARS-CoV-2. Several RAS components including ACE2 and its substrate Ang II are present in both eye and skin, two stratified squamous epithelial tissues that isolate organisms from external environment. Our recent findings in cornea and others in both skin and eye suggest contribution of this system, and specifically of ACE2 in variety of physiological and pathological responses of these organ systems. This review will focus on the role RAS system plays in both skin and cornea, and will specifically discuss our recent findings on ACE2 in corneal epithelial inflammation, as well as potential implications of ACE2 in patients with COVID-19.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Epithelium, Corneal/enzymology , Receptors, Coronavirus/metabolism , Skin/enzymology , Autophagy , COVID-19/enzymology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Inflammation/enzymology , Renin-Angiotensin System/physiology , Wound Healing
FASEB J ; 34(8): 10505-10515, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-602184


Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) plays an important role in inflammation, which is attributable at least, in part, to the conversion of the pro-inflammatory angiotensin (Ang) II peptide into angiotensin 1-7 (Ang 1-7), a peptide which opposes the actions of AngII. ACE2 and AngII are present in many tissues but information on the cornea is lacking. We observed that mice deficient in the Ace2 gene (Ace2-/- ), developed a cloudy cornea phenotype as they aged. Haze occupied the central cornea, accompanied by corneal edema and neovascularization. In severe cases with marked chronic inflammation, a cell-fate switch from a transparent corneal epithelium to a keratinized, stratified squamous, psoriasiform-like epidermis was observed. The stroma contained a large number of CD11c, CD68, and CD3 positive cells. Corneal epithelial debridement experiments in young ACE2-deficient mice showed normal appearing corneas, devoid of haze. We hypothesized, however, that these mice are "primed" for a corneal inflammatory response, which once initiated, would persist. In vitro studies reveal that interleukins (IL-1a, IL-1b), chemokines (CCL2, CXCL8), and TNF-α, are all significantly elevated, resulting in a cytokine storm-like phenotype. This phenotype could be partially rescued by treatment with the AngII type 1 receptor (AT1R) antagonist, losartan, suggesting that the observed effect was mediated by AngII acting on its main receptor. Since the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) utilizes human ACE2 as the receptor for entry with subsequent downregulation of ACE2, corneal inflammation in Ace2-/- mice may have a similar mechanism with that in COVID-19 patients. Thus the Ace2-/- cornea, because of easy accessibility, may provide an attractive model to explore the molecular mechanisms, immunological changes, and treatment modalities in patients with COVID-19.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Cornea/pathology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/physiopathology , Disease Models, Animal , Angiotensin II/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19 , Cells, Cultured , Chemokines/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Humans , Interleukins/metabolism , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Knockout , SARS-CoV-2 , THP-1 Cells , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/metabolism