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EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-329831


Recently, a several models has been proposed to describe the pathogenesis of Immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN), and among them the multihit and the gut-microbiota. These models explain the pathogenesis of IgAN caused by the production of aberrant IgA, but it is believed further predisposing factors are present, including immunological, genetic, environmental, or nutritional factors that can influence the pathogenesis and that could be useful for development of precision nephrology and personalized therapy. Newly, the role of IL-6 in pathogenesis is becoming increasingly important. It is essential for glomerular immunoglobulin A deposition and the development of renal pathology in Cd37-deficient mice, even if the reason why levels of IL-6 are elevated in IgAN patients is not well understood. One attainable hypothesis on high levels of IL-6 in IgAN comes out from our recent whole genome DNA methylation screening in IgAN patients, that identified, among others, a hypermethylated region comprising Vault RNA 2-1 (VTRNA2-1), a non-coding RNA also known as precursor of miR-886 (pre-mi-RNA). Consistently, the VTRNA2-1 expression was found down-regulated in IgAN patients. Here we confirm that VTRNA2-1 is low expressed in IgAN subjects compared to HS and we found that also in transplanted IgAN patients (TP-IgAN), compared to non IgAN transplanted patients (TP), the VTRNA2-1 transcript was expressed at level very low. We found that in IgAN patients with downregulated VTRNA2-1, PKR is overactivated, coherently with the role of the VTRNA2-1 that binds to PKR and inhibits its phosphorylation. The loss of the VTRNA2-1 natural restrain causes, in turn, the activation of CREB by PKR. We found CREB, a classical cAMP-inducible CRE-binding factor interacting with a region of the IL-6 promoter and leading to IL-6 production, overactivated both in IgAN and in TP-IgAN patients. Effectively, in the same patients, we found elevated levels of IL-6 correlating with CREB and PKR phosphorylation. Since PKR is normally activated by bacterial and viral RNA we hypothesized that these microrganisms can further activate the PKR/CREB/IL-6 pathway leading to an excess of IL-6 production, explaining both the high levels of IL-6, both infection involvement in the disease, both cases of IgAN associated with COVID-19 infection and with COVID-19 RNA-vaccination, and recent data showing microbiota involvment in IgAN. Effectively, we found that Effectively, we sfound that both the RNA poly(I:C) and the COVID-19 RNA-vaccine stimulation significantly increase the IL-6 levels in IgAN patient PBMCs. The PKR/CREB/IL-6 pathway may be very important also in the setting of renal transplantation. We found that this pathway is upregulated also in IgAN transplanted patients. Recent studies showed that the cumulative risk of IgA nephropathy recurrence increases after transplant and is associated with a 3.7-fold greater risk of graft loss. Finally, we showed that the IL-6 secretion can be reduced by the PKR inhibitor imoxin. In conclusion, the discovery of the upregulated VTRNA2-1/PKR/CREB/IL-6 pathway in IgAN patients may provide novel approach to treat the disease and may be useful for development of precision nephrology and personalized therapy, possibly by checking the VTRNA2-1 methylation level in IgAN patients.

Sensors (Basel) ; 21(24)2021 Dec 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580509


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected hundreds of millions of individuals and caused millions of deaths worldwide. Predicting the clinical course of the disease is of pivotal importance to manage patients. Several studies have found hematochemical alterations in COVID-19 patients, such as inflammatory markers. We retrospectively analyzed the anamnestic data and laboratory parameters of 303 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 who were admitted to the Polyclinic Hospital of Bari during the first phase of the COVID-19 global pandemic. After the pre-processing phase, we performed a survival analysis with Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox Regression, with the aim to discover the most unfavorable predictors. The target outcomes were mortality or admission to the intensive care unit (ICU). Different machine learning models were also compared to realize a robust classifier relying on a low number of strongly significant factors to estimate the risk of death or admission to ICU. From the survival analysis, it emerged that the most significant laboratory parameters for both outcomes was C-reactive protein min; HR=17.963 (95% CI 6.548-49.277, p < 0.001) for death, HR=1.789 (95% CI 1.000-3.200, p = 0.050) for admission to ICU. The second most important parameter was Erythrocytes max; HR=1.765 (95% CI 1.141-2.729, p < 0.05) for death, HR=1.481 (95% CI 0.895-2.452, p = 0.127) for admission to ICU. The best model for predicting the risk of death was the decision tree, which resulted in ROC-AUC of 89.66%, whereas the best model for predicting the admission to ICU was support vector machine, which had ROC-AUC of 95.07%. The hematochemical predictors identified in this study can be utilized as a strong prognostic signature to characterize the severity of the disease in COVID-19 patients.

COVID-19 , Hospital Mortality , Humans , Machine Learning , Prognosis , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Survival Analysis