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EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296455


Obesity increases the risk for poor outcome in patients with coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). However, the role of adipose tissue for viral propagation and potential metabolic implications are not understood. We detected SARS-CoV-2 in adipose tissue of overweight but not lean male COVID-19 patients. SARS-CoV-2 replicates to high titres in cultured mature adipocytes, a process depending on lipid accumulation and mobilization. After intranasal inoculation, we observed high viral replication in fat depots of Golden Syrian hamsters, demonstrating dissemination from the respiratory tract and subsequent propagation in adipose tissue. Following induction of pro-inflammatory responses, expression of de novo lipogenesis enzymes was suppressed in adipose tissue. This specific down-regulation was reflected by lipidomic alterations in plasma of SARS-CoV-2 infected hamsters as well as in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Overall, our study highlights that adipose tissue is an important site of SARS-CoV-2 replication, contributing to dysregulation of systemic lipid metabolism.<br><br>Funding: This study was supported by a rapid response grant from the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG;ZMV I 1-2520COR501 to GG), by DFG grants SCHE522/4-1 (LS) and SFB1328, project- ID:335447727 (JH). As part of the National Network University Medicine (NUM) funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF, Germany), this work was funded within the research consortium DEFEAT PANDEMIcs, grant number 01KX2021 (FH, PL, KP, BO).<br><br>Declaration of Interests: The authors declare no competing interests.<br><br>Ethics Approval Statement: The Ethics Committee of the Hamburg Chamber of Physicians reviewed and approved the studies (PV7311, 2020-10353-BO-ff, WF-051/20, WF-053/20). For the preparation of primary human white adipocytes, biopsies of subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissues were taken during bariatric surgery at the Department of General, Visceral and Thoracic Surgery, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. All participants signed an informed consent and the study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Hamburg Chamber of Physicians (PV4889).