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Aging Cell ; 21(6): e13646, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1883166


Older age and underlying conditions such as diabetes/obesity or immunosuppression are leading host risk factors for developing severe complications from COVID-19 infection. The pathogenesis of COVID-19-related cytokine storm, tissue damage, and fibrosis may be interconnected with fundamental aging processes, including dysregulated immune responses and cellular senescence. Here, we examined effects of key cytokines linked to cellular senescence on expression of SARS-CoV-2 viral entry receptors. We found exposure of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) to the inflammatory cytokines, TNF-α + IFN-γ or a cocktail of TNF-α + IFN-γ + IL-6, increased expression of ACE2/DPP4, accentuated the pro-inflammatory senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), and decreased cellular proliferative capacity, consistent with progression towards a cellular senescence-like state. IL-6 by itself failed to induce substantial effects on viral entry receptors or SASP-related genes, while synergy between TNF-α and IFN-γ initiated a positive feedback loop via hyper-activation of the JAK/STAT1 pathway, causing SASP amplification. Breaking the interactive loop between senescence and cytokine secretion with JAK inhibitor ruxolitinib or antiviral drug remdesivir prevented hyper-inflammation, normalized SARS-CoV-2 entry receptor expression, and restored HUVECs proliferative capacity. This loop appears to underlie cytokine-mediated viral entry receptor activation and links with senescence and hyper-inflammation.

COVID-19 , Interferon-gamma , SARS-CoV-2 , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Cytokines/immunology , Drug Synergism , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Humans , Inflammation/drug therapy , Inflammation/virology , Interferon-gamma/pharmacology , Interleukin-6/metabolism , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , STAT1 Transcription Factor/biosynthesis , STAT1 Transcription Factor/immunology , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/pharmacology
Transl Res ; 241: 96-108, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1475098


While the full impact of COVID-19 is not yet clear, early studies have indicated that upwards of 10% of patients experience COVID-19 symptoms longer than 3 weeks, known as Long-Hauler's Syndrome or PACS (postacute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection). There is little known about risk factors or predictors of susceptibility for Long-Hauler's Syndrome, but older adults are at greater risk for severe outcomes and mortality from COVID-19. The pillars of aging (including cellular senescence, telomere dysfunction, impaired proteostasis, mitochondrial dysfunction, deregulated nutrient sensing, genomic instability, progenitor cell exhaustion, altered intercellular communication, and epigenetic alterations) that contribute to age-related dysfunction and chronic diseases (the "Geroscience Hypothesis") may interfere with defenses against viral infection and consequences of these infections. Heightening of the low-grade inflammation that is associated with aging may generate an exaggerated response to an acute COVID-19 infection. Innate immune system dysfunction that leads to decreased senescent cell removal and/or increased senescent cell formation could contribute to accumulation of senescent cells with both aging and viral infections. These processes may contribute to increased risk for long-term COVID-19 sequelae in older or chronically ill patients. Hence, senolytics and other geroscience interventions that may prolong healthspan and alleviate chronic diseases and multimorbidity linked to fundamental aging processes might be an option for delaying, preventing, or alleviating Long-Hauler's Syndrome.

Aging/physiology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Aged , COVID-19/virology , Chronic Disease , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
Aging (Albany NY) ; 13(18): 21838-21854, 2021 09 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1417382


Senescent cells, which arise due to damage-associated signals, are apoptosis-resistant and can express a pro-inflammatory, tissue-destructive senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). We recently reported that a component of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) surface protein, S1, can amplify the SASP of senescent cultured human cells and that a related mouse ß-coronavirus, mouse hepatitis virus (MHV), increases SASP factors and senescent cell burden in infected mice. Here, we show that SARS-CoV-2 induces senescence in human non-senescent cells and exacerbates the SASP in human senescent cells through Toll-like receptor-3 (TLR-3). TLR-3, which senses viral RNA, was increased in human senescent compared to non-senescent cells. Notably, genetically or pharmacologically inhibiting TLR-3 prevented senescence induction and SASP amplification by SARS-CoV-2 or Spike pseudotyped virus. While an artificial TLR-3 agonist alone was not sufficient to induce senescence, it amplified the SASP in senescent human cells. Consistent with these findings, lung p16INK4a+ senescent cell burden was higher in patients who died from acute SARS-CoV-2 infection than other causes. Our results suggest that induction of cellular senescence and SASP amplification through TLR-3 contribute to SARS-CoV-2 morbidity, indicating that clinical trials of senolytics and/or SASP/TLR-3 inhibitors for alleviating acute and long-term SARS-CoV-2 sequelae are warranted.

COVID-19/virology , Cellular Senescence , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Toll-Like Receptor 3/metabolism , Aging , Animals , Apoptosis , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/metabolism , Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16/metabolism , Humans , Inflammation , Lung/metabolism , Mice , Phenotype , Viral Proteins