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1.
Nat Neurosci ; 24(11): 1522-1533, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1500484

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can damage cerebral small vessels and cause neurological symptoms. Here we describe structural changes in cerebral small vessels of patients with COVID-19 and elucidate potential mechanisms underlying the vascular pathology. In brains of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-infected individuals and animal models, we found an increased number of empty basement membrane tubes, so-called string vessels representing remnants of lost capillaries. We obtained evidence that brain endothelial cells are infected and that the main protease of SARS-CoV-2 (Mpro) cleaves NEMO, the essential modulator of nuclear factor-κB. By ablating NEMO, Mpro induces the death of human brain endothelial cells and the occurrence of string vessels in mice. Deletion of receptor-interacting protein kinase (RIPK) 3, a mediator of regulated cell death, blocks the vessel rarefaction and disruption of the blood-brain barrier due to NEMO ablation. Importantly, a pharmacological inhibitor of RIPK signaling prevented the Mpro-induced microvascular pathology. Our data suggest RIPK as a potential therapeutic target to treat the neuropathology of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Blood-Brain Barrier/metabolism , Brain/metabolism , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/metabolism , Microvessels/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Animals , Blood-Brain Barrier/pathology , Brain/pathology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/genetics , Cricetinae , Female , Humans , Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/genetics , Male , Mesocricetus , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Knockout , Mice, Transgenic , Microvessels/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vero Cells
2.
Nat Neurosci ; 24(11): 1522-1533, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1483143

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can damage cerebral small vessels and cause neurological symptoms. Here we describe structural changes in cerebral small vessels of patients with COVID-19 and elucidate potential mechanisms underlying the vascular pathology. In brains of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-infected individuals and animal models, we found an increased number of empty basement membrane tubes, so-called string vessels representing remnants of lost capillaries. We obtained evidence that brain endothelial cells are infected and that the main protease of SARS-CoV-2 (Mpro) cleaves NEMO, the essential modulator of nuclear factor-κB. By ablating NEMO, Mpro induces the death of human brain endothelial cells and the occurrence of string vessels in mice. Deletion of receptor-interacting protein kinase (RIPK) 3, a mediator of regulated cell death, blocks the vessel rarefaction and disruption of the blood-brain barrier due to NEMO ablation. Importantly, a pharmacological inhibitor of RIPK signaling prevented the Mpro-induced microvascular pathology. Our data suggest RIPK as a potential therapeutic target to treat the neuropathology of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Blood-Brain Barrier/metabolism , Brain/metabolism , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/metabolism , Microvessels/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Animals , Blood-Brain Barrier/pathology , Brain/pathology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/genetics , Cricetinae , Female , Humans , Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/genetics , Male , Mesocricetus , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Knockout , Mice, Transgenic , Microvessels/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vero Cells
3.
PLoS One ; 16(10): e0258684, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1480452

ABSTRACT

AIMS: Patients with cardiovascular comorbidities have a significantly increased risk for a critical course of COVID-19. As the SARS-CoV2 virus enters cells via the angiotensin-converting enzyme receptor II (ACE2), drugs which interact with the renin angiotensin aldosterone system (RAAS) were suspected to influence disease severity. METHODS AND RESULTS: We analyzed 1946 consecutive patients with cardiovascular comorbidities or hypertension enrolled in one of the largest European COVID-19 registries, the Lean European Open Survey on SARS-CoV-2 (LEOSS) registry. Here, we show that angiotensin II receptor blocker intake is associated with decreased mortality in patients with COVID-19 [OR 0.75 (95% CI 0,59-0.96; p = 0.013)]. This effect was mainly driven by patients, who presented in an early phase of COVID-19 at baseline [OR 0,64 (95% CI 0,43-0,96; p = 0.029)]. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed a significantly lower incidence of death in patients on an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) (n = 33/318;10,4%) compared to patients using an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEi) (n = 60/348;17,2%) or patients who received neither an ACE-inhibitor nor an ARB at baseline in the uncomplicated phase (n = 90/466; 19,3%; p<0.034). Patients taking an ARB were significantly less frequently reaching the mortality predicting threshold for leukocytes (p<0.001), neutrophils (p = 0.002) and the inflammatory markers CRP (p = 0.021), procalcitonin (p = 0.001) and IL-6 (p = 0.049). ACE2 expression levels in human lung samples were not altered in patients taking RAAS modulators. CONCLUSION: These data suggest a beneficial effect of ARBs on disease severity in patients with cardiovascular comorbidities and COVID-19, which is linked to dampened systemic inflammatory activity.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists/administration & dosage , COVID-19 , Hypertension , Registries , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/administration & dosage , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/mortality , Comorbidity , Disease-Free Survival , Female , Humans , Hypertension/blood , Hypertension/drug therapy , Hypertension/mortality , Inflammation/blood , Inflammation/drug therapy , Inflammation/mortality , Male , Middle Aged , Severity of Illness Index , Survival Rate
4.
Basic Res Cardiol ; 116(1): 42, 2021 07 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1293364

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) spawned a global health crisis in late 2019 and is caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 infection can lead to elevated markers of endothelial dysfunction associated with higher risk of mortality. It is unclear whether endothelial dysfunction is caused by direct infection of endothelial cells or is mainly secondary to inflammation. Here, we investigate whether different types of endothelial cells are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2. Human endothelial cells from different vascular beds including umbilical vein endothelial cells, coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAEC), cardiac and lung microvascular endothelial cells, or pulmonary arterial cells were inoculated in vitro with SARS-CoV-2. Viral spike protein was only detected in HCAECs after SARS-CoV-2 infection but not in the other endothelial cells tested. Consistently, only HCAEC expressed the SARS-CoV-2 receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), required for virus infection. Infection with the SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.2 resulted in significantly higher levels of viral spike protein. Despite this, no intracellular double-stranded viral RNA was detected and the supernatant did not contain infectious virus. Analysis of the cellular distribution of the spike protein revealed that it co-localized with endosomal calnexin. SARS-CoV-2 infection did induce the ER stress gene EDEM1, which is responsible for clearance of misfolded proteins from the ER. Whereas the wild type of SARS-CoV-2 did not induce cytotoxic or pro-inflammatory effects, the variant B.1.1.7 reduced the HCAEC cell number. Of the different tested endothelial cells, HCAECs showed highest viral uptake but did not promote virus replication. Effects on cell number were only observed after infection with the variant B.1.1.7, suggesting that endothelial protection may be particularly important in patients infected with this variant.


Subject(s)
Endoplasmic Reticulum/virology , Endothelial Cells/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Calnexin/metabolism , Cells, Cultured , Endoplasmic Reticulum/metabolism , Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
5.
Cardiovasc Res ; 116(14): 2207-2215, 2020 12 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1048209

ABSTRACT

AIMS: Coronavirus disease 2019 is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and has emerged as a global pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 infection can lead to elevated markers of cardiac injury associated with higher risk of mortality. It is unclear whether cardiac injury is caused by direct infection of cardiomyocytes or is mainly secondary to lung injury and inflammation. Here, we investigate whether cardiomyocytes are permissive for SARS-CoV-2 infection. METHODS AND RESULTS: Two strains of SARS-CoV-2 infected human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes as demonstrated by detection of intracellular double-stranded viral RNA and viral spike glycoprotein expression. Increasing concentrations of viral RNA are detected in supernatants of infected cardiomyocytes, which induced infections in Caco-2 cell lines, documenting productive infections. SARS-CoV-2 infection and induced cytotoxic and proapoptotic effects associated with it abolished cardiomyocyte beating. RNA sequencing confirmed a transcriptional response to viral infection as demonstrated by the up-regulation of genes associated with pathways related to viral response and interferon signalling, apoptosis, and reactive oxygen stress. SARS-CoV-2 infection and cardiotoxicity was confirmed in a 3D cardiosphere tissue model. Importantly, viral spike protein and viral particles were detected in living human heart slices after infection with SARS-CoV-2. Coronavirus particles were further observed in cardiomyocytes of a patient with coronavirus disease 2019. Infection of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes was dependent on cathepsins and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, and was blocked by remdesivir. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that SARS-CoV-2 infects cardiomyocytes in vitro in an angiotensin-converting enzyme 2- and cathepsin-dependent manner. SARS-CoV-2 infection of cardiomyocytes is inhibited by the antiviral drug remdesivir.


Subject(s)
Apoptosis , COVID-19/virology , Heart Diseases/virology , Myocytes, Cardiac/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Apoptosis/drug effects , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Caco-2 Cells , Cathepsins/metabolism , Heart Diseases/drug therapy , Heart Diseases/metabolism , Heart Diseases/pathology , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Myocytes, Cardiac/drug effects , Myocytes, Cardiac/metabolism , Myocytes, Cardiac/pathology , Reactive Oxygen Species/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Signal Transduction
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