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Front Immunol ; 13: 861245, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1775684


Pregnancy can be defined a vascular event upon endocrine control. In the human hemo-chorial placentation the chorionic villi penetrate the wall of the uterine spiral arteries, to provide increasing amounts of nutrients and oxygen for optimal fetal growth. In any physiological pregnancy the natural maternal response is of a Th1 inflammatory type, aimed at avoiding blood loss through the arteriolar wall openings. The control of the vascular function, during gestation as in any other condition, is achieved through the action of two main types of prostanoids: prostaglandin E2 and thromboxane on the one hand (for vasoconstriction and coagulation), prostacyclin on the other (for vasodilation and blood fluidification). The control of the maternal immune response is upon the responsibility of the fetus itself. Indeed, the chorionic villi are able to counteract the natural maternal response, thus changing the inflammatory Th1 type into the anti-inflammatory Th2. Clinical and experimental research in the past half century address to inflammation as the leading cause of abortion, pregnancy loss, premature delivery and related pulmonary, cerebral, intestinal fetal syndromes. Increased level of Interleukin 6, Interleukin 1-beta, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alfa, Interferon-gamma, are some among the well-known markers of gestational inflammation. On the other side, COVID-19 pneumonia is a result of extensive inflammation induced by viral replication within the cells of the respiratory tract. As it may happen in the uterine arteries in the absence of an effective fetal control, viral pneumonia triggers pulmonary vascular coagulation. The cytokines involved in the process are the same as those in gestational inflammation. As the fetus breathes throughout the placenta, fetal death from placental thrombosis is similar to adult death from pulmonary thrombosis. Preventing and counteracting inflammation is mandatory in both conditions. The most relevant literature dealing with the above-mentioned concepts is reviewed in the present article.

Abortion, Spontaneous , COVID-19 , Thrombosis , Abortion, Spontaneous/pathology , Adult , Cytokines , Female , Humans , Inflammation/pathology , Placenta/pathology , Pregnancy , Thrombosis/pathology
Microorganisms ; 8(8)2020 Aug 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-717751


Until less than two decades ago, all known human coronaviruses (CoV) caused diseases so mild that they did not stimulate further advanced CoV research. In 2002 and following years, the scenario changed dramatically with the advent of the new more pathogenic CoVs, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndome (SARS-CoV-1), Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (MERS)-CoV, and the new zoonotic SARS-CoV-2, likely originated from bat species and responsible for the present coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which to date has caused 15,581,007 confirmed cases and 635,173 deaths in 208 countries, including Italy. SARS-CoV-2 transmission is mainly airborne via droplets generated by symptomatic patients, and possibly asymptomatic individuals during incubation of the disease, although for the latter, there are no certain data yet. However, research on asymptomatic viral infection is currently ongoing worldwide to elucidate the real prevalence and mortality of the disease. From a clinical point of view, COVID-19 would be defined as "COVID Planet " because it presents as a multifaceted disease, due to the large number of organs and tissues infected by the virus. Overall, based on the available published data, 80.9% of patients infected by SARS-CoV-2 develop a mild disease/infection, 13.8% severe pneumonia, 4.7% respiratory failure, septic shock, or multi-organ failure, and 3% of these cases are fatal, but mortality parameter is highly variable in different countries. Clinically, SARS-CoV-2 causes severe primary interstitial viral pneumonia and a "cytokine storm syndrome", characterized by a severe and fatal uncontrolled systemic inflammatory response triggered by the activation of interleukin 6 (IL-6) with development of endothelitis and generalized thrombosis that can lead to organ failure and death. Risk factors include advanced age and comorbidities including hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Virus entry occurs via binding the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor present in almost all tissues and organs through the Spike (S) protein. Currently, SARS-CoV-2 infection is prevented by the use of masks, social distancing, and improved hand hygiene measures. This review summarizes the current knowledge on the main biological and clinical features of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, also focusing on the principal measures taken in some Italian regions to face the emergency and on the most important treatments used to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.