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1.
Front Cardiovasc Med ; 9: 964512, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2099115

ABSTRACT

Recovered COVID-19 patients often display cardiac dysfunction, even after a mild infection. Most current histological results come from patients that are hospitalized and therefore represent more severe outcomes than most COVID-19 patients face. To overcome this limitation, we investigated the cardiac effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a hamster model. SARS-CoV-2 infected hamsters developed diastolic dysfunction after recovering from COVID-19. Histologically, increased cardiomyocyte size was present at the peak of viral load and remained at all time points investigated. As this increase is too rapid for hypertrophic remodeling, we found instead that the heart was oedemic. Moreover, cardiomyocyte swelling is associated with the presence of ischemia. Fibrin-rich microthrombi and pericyte loss were observed at the peak of viral load, resulting in increased HIF1α in cardiomyocytes. Surprisingly, SARS-CoV-2 infection inhibited the translocation of HIF1α to the nucleus both in hamster hearts, in cultured cardiomyocytes, as well as in an epithelial cell line. We propose that the observed diastolic dysfunction is the consequence of cardiac oedema, downstream of microvascular cardiac ischemia. Additionally, our data suggest that inhibition of HIF1α translocation could contribute to an exaggerated response upon SARS-CoV-2 infection.

2.
Cardiovasc Res ; 2022 Jul 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1961022

ABSTRACT

Long COVID has become a world-wide, non-communicable epidemic, caused by long-lasting multi-organ symptoms that endure for weeks or months after SARS-CoV-2 infection has already subsided. This scientific document aims to provide insight into the possible causes and therapeutic options available for the cardiovascular manifestations of long COVID. In addition to chronic fatigue, which is a common symptom of long COVID, patients may present with chest pain, ECG abnormalities, postural orthostatic tachycardia, or newly developed supraventricular or ventricular arrhythmias. Imaging of the heart and vessels has provided evidence of chronic, post-infectious peri-myocarditis with consequent left or right ventricular failure, arterial wall inflammation or micro-thrombosis in certain patient populations. Better understanding of the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms of long COVID will aid in the development of effective treatment strategies for its cardiovascular manifestations. A number of mechanisms have been proposed, including those involving direct effects on the myocardium, micro-thrombotic damage to vessels or endothelium, or persistent inflammation. Unfortunately, existing circulating biomarkers, coagulation and inflammatory markers, are not highly predictive for either the presence or outcome of long COVID when measured 3 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Further studies are needed to understand underlying mechanisms, identify specific biomarkers and guide future preventive strategies or treatments to address long COVID and its cardiovascular sequelae.

3.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 01 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1715767

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: This study investigated the spontaneous clinical course of patients with endomyocardial biopsy (EMB)-proven lymphocytic myocarditis and cardiac human herpesvirus 6 (HHV6) DNA presence, and the effectiveness of steroid-based intervention in HHV6-positive patients. RESULTS: 756 heart failure (HF) patients underwent an EMB procedure to determine the underlying cause of unexplained HF. Low levels of HHV6 DNA, detectable by nested PCR only, were found in 10.4% of the cases (n = 79) of which 62% (n = 49) showed myocardial inflammation. The spontaneous course of patients with EMB-proven HHV6 DNA-associated lymphocytic myocarditis (n = 26) showed significant improvements in the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and clinical symptoms, respectively, in 15/26 (60%) patients, 3-12 months after disease onset. EMB mRNA expression of components of the NLRP3 inflammasome pathway and protein analysis of cardiac remodeling markers, analyzed by real-time PCR and MALDI mass spectrometry, respectively, did not differ between HHV6-positive and -negative patients. In another cohort of patients with ongoing symptoms related to lymphocytic myocarditis associated with cardiac levels of HHV6-DNA copy numbers <500 copies/µg cardiac DNA, quantified by real-time PCR, the efficacy and safety of steroid-based immunosuppression for six months was investigated. Steroid-based immunosuppression improved the LVEF (≥5%) in 8/10 patients and reduced cardiac inflammation in 7/10 patients, without an increase in cardiac HHV6 DNA levels in follow-up EMBs. CONCLUSION: Low HHV6 DNA levels are frequently detected in the myocardium, independent of inflammation. In patients with lymphocytic myocarditis with low levels of HHV6 DNA, the spontaneous clinical improvement is nearby 60%. In selected symptomatic patients with cardiac HHV6 DNA copy numbers less than 500 copies/µg cardiac DNA and without signs of an active systemic HHV6 infection, steroid-based therapy was found to be effective and safe. This finding needs to be further confirmed in large, randomized trials.


Subject(s)
Herpesvirus 6, Human/physiology , Immunosuppressive Agents/administration & dosage , Myocarditis/drug therapy , Myocarditis/virology , Roseolovirus Infections/drug therapy , Roseolovirus Infections/virology , Steroids/administration & dosage , Adult , Aged , Biopsy , Cohort Studies , DNA, Viral/genetics , Female , Gene Dosage , Herpesvirus 6, Human/genetics , Herpesvirus 6, Human/isolation & purification , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Myocarditis/immunology , Myocarditis/physiopathology , NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein/genetics , NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein/immunology , Roseolovirus Infections/immunology , Roseolovirus Infections/physiopathology , Stroke Volume
4.
Front Cardiovasc Med ; 8: 737257, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1638221

ABSTRACT

Background: Despite the ongoing global pandemic, the impact of COVID-19 on cardiac structure and function is still not completely understood. Myocarditis is a rare but potentially serious complication of other viral infections with variable recovery, and is, in some cases, associated with long-term cardiac remodeling and functional impairment. Aim: To assess myocardial injury in patients who recently recovered from an acute SARS-CoV-2 infection with advanced cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) and endomyocardial biopsy (EMB). Methods: In total, 32 patients with persistent cardiac symptoms after a COVID-19 infection, 22 patients with acute classic myocarditis not related to COVID-19, and 16 healthy volunteers were included in this study and underwent a comprehensive baseline CMR scan. Of these, 10 patients post COVID-19 and 13 with non-COVID-19 myocarditis underwent a follow-up scan. In 10 of the post-COVID-19 and 15 of the non-COVID-19 patients with myocarditis endomyocardial biopsy (EMB) with histological, immunohistological, and molecular analysis was performed. Results: In total, 10 (31%) patients with COVID-19 showed evidence of myocardial injury, eight (25%) presented with myocardial oedema, eight (25%) exhibited global or regional systolic left ventricular (LV) dysfunction, and nine (28%) exhibited impaired right ventricular (RV) function. However, only three (9%) of COVID-19 patients fulfilled updated CMR-Lake Louise criteria (LLC) for acute myocarditis. Regarding EMB, none of the COVID-19 patients but 87% of the non-COVID-19 patients with myocarditis presented histological findings in keeping with acute or chronic inflammation. COVID-19 patients with severe disease on the WHO scale presented with reduced biventricular longitudinal function, increased RV mass, and longer native T1 times compared with those with only mild or moderate disease. Conclusions: In our cohort, CMR and EMB findings revealed that SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with relatively mild but variable cardiac involvement. More symptomatic COVID-19 patients and those with higher clinical care demands were more likely to exhibit chronic inflammation and impaired cardiac function compared to patients with milder forms of the disease.

5.
Eur J Heart Fail ; 23(11): 1806-1818, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1453574

ABSTRACT

Patients with heart failure (HF) who contract SARS-CoV-2 infection are at a higher risk of cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Regardless of therapeutic attempts in COVID-19, vaccination remains the most promising global approach at present for controlling this disease. There are several concerns and misconceptions regarding the clinical indications, optimal mode of delivery, safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines for patients with HF. This document provides guidance to all healthcare professionals regarding the implementation of a COVID-19 vaccination scheme in patients with HF. COVID-19 vaccination is indicated in all patients with HF, including those who are immunocompromised (e.g. after heart transplantation receiving immunosuppressive therapy) and with frailty syndrome. It is preferable to vaccinate against COVID-19 patients with HF in an optimal clinical state, which would include clinical stability, adequate hydration and nutrition, optimized treatment of HF and other comorbidities (including iron deficiency), but corrective measures should not be allowed to delay vaccination. Patients with HF who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 need to continue precautionary measures, including the use of facemasks, hand hygiene and social distancing. Knowledge on strategies preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection (including the COVID-19 vaccination) should be included in the comprehensive educational programmes delivered to patients with HF.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cardiology , Heart Failure , Aged , COVID-19 Vaccines , Frail Elderly , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
6.
Cardiovasc Res ; 117(2): 367-385, 2021 01 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1254643

ABSTRACT

Ischaemic heart disease (IHD) is a complex disorder and a leading cause of death and morbidity in both men and women. Sex, however, affects several aspects of IHD, including pathophysiology, incidence, clinical presentation, diagnosis as well as treatment and outcome. Several diseases or risk factors frequently associated with IHD can modify cellular signalling cascades, thus affecting ischaemia/reperfusion injury as well as responses to cardioprotective interventions. Importantly, the prevalence and impact of risk factors and several comorbidities differ between males and females, and their effects on IHD development and prognosis might differ according to sex. The cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying these differences are still poorly understood, and their identification might have important translational implications in the prediction or prevention of risk of IHD in men and women. Despite this, most experimental studies on IHD are still undertaken in animal models in the absence of risk factors and comorbidities, and assessment of potential sex-specific differences are largely missing. This ESC WG Position Paper will discuss: (i) the importance of sex as a biological variable in cardiovascular research, (ii) major biological mechanisms underlying sex-related differences relevant to IHD risk factors and comorbidities, (iii) prospects and pitfalls of preclinical models to investigate these associations, and finally (iv) will provide recommendations to guide future research. Although gender differences also affect IHD risk in the clinical setting, they will not be discussed in detail here.


Subject(s)
Health Status Disparities , Myocardial Ischemia/epidemiology , Animals , Comorbidity , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Humans , Male , Myocardial Ischemia/diagnosis , Myocardial Ischemia/physiopathology , Risk Assessment , Risk Factors , Sex Characteristics , Sex Factors , Species Specificity
7.
Nat Rev Cardiol ; 18(3): 169-193, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-851285

ABSTRACT

Inflammatory cardiomyopathy, characterized by inflammatory cell infiltration into the myocardium and a high risk of deteriorating cardiac function, has a heterogeneous aetiology. Inflammatory cardiomyopathy is predominantly mediated by viral infection, but can also be induced by bacterial, protozoal or fungal infections as well as a wide variety of toxic substances and drugs and systemic immune-mediated diseases. Despite extensive research, inflammatory cardiomyopathy complicated by left ventricular dysfunction, heart failure or arrhythmia is associated with a poor prognosis. At present, the reason why some patients recover without residual myocardial injury whereas others develop dilated cardiomyopathy is unclear. The relative roles of the pathogen, host genomics and environmental factors in disease progression and healing are still under discussion, including which viruses are active inducers and which are only bystanders. As a consequence, treatment strategies are not well established. In this Review, we summarize and evaluate the available evidence on the pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of myocarditis and inflammatory cardiomyopathy, with a special focus on virus-induced and virus-associated myocarditis. Furthermore, we identify knowledge gaps, appraise the available experimental models and propose future directions for the field. The current knowledge and open questions regarding the cardiovascular effects associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection are also discussed. This Review is the result of scientific cooperation of members of the Heart Failure Association of the ESC, the Heart Failure Society of America and the Japanese Heart Failure Society.


Subject(s)
Cardiomyopathies/physiopathology , Inflammation/physiopathology , Myocarditis/physiopathology , Virus Diseases/physiopathology , Animals , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Autoimmunity/immunology , Biopsy , COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19/therapy , Cardiomyopathies/diagnosis , Cardiomyopathies/immunology , Cardiomyopathies/therapy , Cardiomyopathy, Dilated , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/physiopathology , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Coxsackievirus Infections/immunology , Coxsackievirus Infections/physiopathology , Coxsackievirus Infections/therapy , Cytomegalovirus Infections/immunology , Cytomegalovirus Infections/physiopathology , Cytomegalovirus Infections/therapy , Disease Models, Animal , Echovirus Infections/immunology , Echovirus Infections/physiopathology , Echovirus Infections/therapy , Epstein-Barr Virus Infections/immunology , Epstein-Barr Virus Infections/physiopathology , Epstein-Barr Virus Infections/therapy , Erythema Infectiosum/immunology , Erythema Infectiosum/physiopathology , Erythema Infectiosum/therapy , HIV Infections/physiopathology , Hepatitis C/immunology , Hepatitis C/physiopathology , Hepatitis C/therapy , Humans , Immunoglobulins, Intravenous/therapeutic use , Immunologic Factors/therapeutic use , Inflammation/diagnosis , Inflammation/immunology , Inflammation/therapy , Influenza, Human/immunology , Influenza, Human/physiopathology , Influenza, Human/therapy , Leukocytes/immunology , Myocarditis/diagnosis , Myocarditis/immunology , Myocarditis/therapy , Myocardium/pathology , Prognosis , Roseolovirus Infections/immunology , Roseolovirus Infections/physiopathology
8.
ESC Heart Fail ; 7(5): 2838-2852, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-643370

ABSTRACT

AIMS: Left ventricular (LV) dysfunction in viral myocarditis is attributed to myocardial inflammation and fibrosis, inducing acute and long-time cardiac damage. Interventions are not established. On the basis of the link between inflammation, fibrosis, aldosterone, and extracellular matrix regulation, we aimed to investigate the effect of an early intervention with the mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist (MRA) eplerenone on cardiac remodelling in a murine model of persistent coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3)-induced myocarditis. METHODS AND RESULTS: SWR/J mice were infected with 5 × 104 plaque-forming units of CVB3 (Nancy strain) and daily treated either with eplerenone (200 mg/kg body weight) or with placebo starting from Day 1. At Day 8 or 28 post infection, mice were haemodynamically characterized and subsequently sacrificed for immunohistological and molecular biology analyses. Eplerenone did not influence CVB3 load. Already at Day 8, 1.8-fold (P < 0.05), 1.4-fold (P < 0.05), 3.2-fold (P < 0.01), and 2.1-fold (P < 0.001) reduction in LV intercellular adhesion molecule 1 expression, presence of monocytes/macrophages, oxidative stress, and apoptosis, respectively, was observed in eplerenone-treated vs. untreated CVB3-infected mice. In vitro, eplerenone led to 1.4-fold (P < 0.01) and 1.2-fold (P < 0.01) less CVB3-induced cardiomyocyte oxidative stress and apoptosis. Furthermore, collagen production was 1.1-fold (P < 0.05) decreased in cardiac fibroblasts cultured with medium of eplerenone-treated vs. untreated CVB3-infected HL-1 cardiomyocytes. These ameliorations were in vivo translated into prevention of cardiac fibrosis, as shown by 1.4-fold (P < 0.01) and 2.1-fold (P < 0.001) lower collagen content in the LV of eplerenone-treated vs. untreated CVB3-infected mice at Days 8 and 28, respectively. This resulted in an early and long-lasting improvement of LV dimension and function, as indicated by reduced LV end-systolic volume and end-diastolic volume, and an increase in LV contractility (dP/dtmax ) and LV relaxation (dP/dtmin ), respectively (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Early intervention with the MRA eplerenone modulates the acute host and defence reaction and prevents cardiac disease progression in experimental CVB3-induced myocarditis without aggravation of viral load. The findings advocate for an initiation of therapy of viral myocarditis as early as possible, even before the onset of inflammation-induced myocardial dysfunction. This may also have implications for coronavirus disease-19 therapy.


Subject(s)
Endomyocardial Fibrosis/prevention & control , Enterovirus B, Human/pathogenicity , Eplerenone/pharmacology , Myocarditis/drug therapy , Myocarditis/virology , Ventricular Dysfunction, Left/virology , Analysis of Variance , Animals , Biopsy, Needle , Disease Models, Animal , Disease Progression , Endomyocardial Fibrosis/pathology , Immunohistochemistry , Male , Matrix Metalloproteinases/drug effects , Matrix Metalloproteinases/metabolism , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , Myocarditis/prevention & control , Random Allocation , Reference Values , Treatment Outcome , Ventricular Dysfunction, Left/pathology , Ventricular Dysfunction, Left/physiopathology
9.
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