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1.
Am J Surg Pathol ; 46(1): 89-96, 2022 01 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1254925

ABSTRACT

Approximately 20% of patients with symptomatic syndrome-associated coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection have gastrointestinal bleeding and/or diarrhea. Most are managed without endoscopic evaluation because the risk of practitioner infection outweighs the value of biopsy analysis unless symptoms are life-threatening. As a result, much of what is known about the gastrointestinal manifestations of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) has been gleaned from surgical and autopsy cases that suffer from extensive ischemic injury and/or poor preservation. There are no detailed reports describing any other gastrointestinal effects of SARS-CoV-2 even though >3,000,000 people have died from COVID-19 worldwide. The purpose of this study is to report the intestinal findings related to SARS-CoV-2 infection by way of a small case series including one with evidence of direct viral cytopathic effect and 2 with secondary injury attributed to viral infection. Infection can be confirmed by immunohistochemical stains directed against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, in situ hybridization for spike protein-encoding RNA, and ultrastructural visualization of viruses within the epithelium. It induces cytoplasmic blebs and tufted epithelial cells without inflammation and may not cause symptoms. In contrast, SARS-CoV-2 infection can cause gastrointestinal symptoms after the virus is no longer detected, reflecting systemic activation of cytokine and complement cascades rather than direct viral injury. Reversible mucosal ischemia features microvascular injury with hemorrhage, small vessel thrombosis, and platelet-rich thrombi. Systemic cytokine elaboration and dysbiosis likely explain epithelial cell injury that accompanies diarrheal symptoms. These observations are consistent with clinical and in vitro data and contribute to our understanding of the protean manifestations of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Intestinal Diseases/pathology , Intestinal Diseases/virology , Intestines/pathology , Intestines/virology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Biomarkers/metabolism , Biopsy , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/immunology , Cytokines/metabolism , Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage/diagnosis , Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage/immunology , Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage/pathology , Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage/virology , Humans , Intestinal Diseases/diagnosis , Intestinal Diseases/immunology , Intestines/immunology , Ischemia/diagnosis , Ischemia/immunology , Ischemia/pathology , Ischemia/virology , Male , Thrombosis/diagnosis , Thrombosis/immunology , Thrombosis/pathology , Thrombosis/virology
2.
Hum Pathol ; 106: 106-116, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-927637

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to examine the deltoid skin biopsy in twenty-three patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), most severely ill, for vascular complement deposition and correlate this with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) viral RNA and protein localization and ACE2 expression. Deltoid skin microvascular complement screening has been applied to patients with various systemic complement-mediated microvascular syndromes, best exemplified by atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome. In 21 of 23 cases, substantial microvascular deposition of complement components was identified. The two patients without significant complement deposition included one patient with moderate disease and a severely ill patient who although on a ventilator for a day was discharged after 3 days. The dominant microvascular complement immunoreactant identified was the terminal membranolytic attack complex C5b-9. Microvascular complement deposition strongly colocalized in situ with the SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins including spike glycoproteins in the endothelial cells as well as the viral receptor ACE2 in lesional and nonlesional skin; viral RNA was not evident. Microvascular SARS-CoV-2 viral protein, complement, and ACE2 expression was most conspicuous in the subcutaneous fat. Although the samples from severely ill patients with COVID-19 were from grossly normal skin, light microscopically focal microvascular abnormalities were evident that included endothelial cell denudement, basement membrane zone reduplication, and small thrombi. It is concluded that complement activation is common in grossly normal skin, especially in the subcutaneous fat which may provide a link between severe disease and obesity, in people with severe COVID-19, and the strong colocalization with the ACE2 receptor and viral capsid proteins without viral RNA suggests that circulating viral proteins (ie, pseudovirions) may dock onto the endothelial of these microvessels and induce complement activation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Endothelial Cells/virology , Microvessels/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Adult , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Complement Activation/immunology , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Female , Humans , Male , Microvessels/metabolism , Middle Aged , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , RNA, Viral/genetics
3.
Pathobiology ; 88(1): 56-68, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-781258

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was identified in Wuhan, China in late 2019. This virus rapidly spread around the world causing disease ranging from minimal symptoms to severe pneumonia, which was termed coronavirus disease (i.e., COVID). Postmortem examination is a valuable tool for studying the pathobiology of this new infection. METHODS: We report the clinicopathologic findings from 32 autopsy studies conducted on patients who died of COVID-19 including routine gross and microscopic examination with applicable special and immunohistochemical staining techniques. RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 infection was confirmed by nasopharyngeal RT-PCR in 31 cases (97%) and by immunohistochemical staining for SARS-CoV-2 spike-protein in the lung in the remaining 1 case (3%). The ethnically diverse cohort consisted of 22 males and 10 females with a mean age of 68 years (range: 30-100). Patients most commonly presented with cough (17 [55%]), shortness of breath (26 [81%]), and a low-grade fever (17 [55%]). Thirty-one (97%) of the patients had at least 1 comorbidity (mean = 4). Twenty-eight patients (88%) had widespread thromboembolic disease, as well as diffuse alveolar damage (30 [94%]), diabetic nephropathy (17 [57%]) and acute tubular injury. Patterns of liver injury were heterogeneous, featuring 10 (36%) with frequent large basophilic structures in sinusoidal endothelium, and increased immunoblast-like cells in lymph nodes. CONCLUSION: This series of autopsies from patients with COVID-19 confirms the observation that the majority of severely affected patients have significant pulmonary pathology. However, many patients also have widespread microscopic thromboses, as well as characteristic findings in the liver and lymph nodes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Lung/virology , Adult , Aged , Autopsy/methods , COVID-19/pathology , Female , Humans , Lung/pathology , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
4.
Mod Pathol ; 33(11): 2156-2168, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-744362

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2, the etiologic agent of COVID-19, is a global pandemic with substantial mortality dominated by acute respiratory distress syndrome. We systematically evaluated lungs of 68 autopsies from 3 institutions in heavily hit areas (2 USA, 1 Italy). Detailed evaluation of several compartments (airways, alveolar walls, airspaces, and vasculature) was performed to determine the range of histologic features. The cohort consisted of 47 males and 21 females with a median age of 73 years (range 30-96). Co-morbidities were present in most patients with 60% reporting at least three conditions. Tracheobronchitis was frequently present, independent from intubation or superimposed pneumonia. Diffuse alveolar damage (DAD) was seen in 87% of cases. Later phases of DAD were less frequent and correlated with longer duration of disease. Large vessel thrombi were seen in 42% of cases but platelet (CD61 positive) and/or fibrin microthrombi were present at least focally in 84%. Ultrastructurally, small vessels showed basal membrane reduplication and significant endothelial swelling with cytoplasmic vacuolization. In a subset of cases, virus was detected using different tools (immunohistochemistry for SARS-CoV-2 viral spike protein, RNA in situ hybridization, lung viral culture, and electron microscopy). Virus was seen in airway epithelium and type 2 pneumocytes. IHC or in situ detection, as well as viable form (lung culture positive) was associated with the presence of hyaline membranes, usually within 2 weeks but up to 4 weeks after initial diagnosis. COVID-19 pneumonia is a heterogeneous disease (tracheobronchitis, DAD, and vascular injury), but with consistent features in three centers. The pulmonary vasculature, with capillary microthrombi and inflammation, as well as macrothrombi, is commonly involved. Viral infection in areas of ongoing active injury contributes to persistent and temporally heterogeneous lung damage.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Autopsy , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Italy , Male , Middle Aged , New York City , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
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