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Front Immunol ; 12: 740260, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1506482


Increased left ventricular fibrosis has been reported in patients hospitalized with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). It is unclear whether this fibrosis is a consequence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection or a risk factor for severe disease progression. We observed increased fibrosis in the left ventricular myocardium of deceased COVID-19 patients, compared with matched controls. We also detected increased mRNA levels of soluble interleukin-1 receptor-like 1 (sIL1-RL1) and transforming growth factor ß1 (TGF-ß1) in the left ventricular myocardium of deceased COVID-19 patients. Biochemical analysis of blood sampled from patients admitted to the emergency department (ED) with COVID-19 revealed highly elevated levels of TGF-ß1 mRNA in these patients compared to controls. Left ventricular strain measured by echocardiography as a marker of pre-existing cardiac fibrosis correlated strongly with blood TGF-ß1 mRNA levels and predicted disease severity in COVID-19 patients. In the left ventricular myocardium and lungs of COVID-19 patients, we found increased neuropilin-1 (NRP-1) RNA levels, which correlated strongly with the prevalence of pulmonary SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid. Cardiac and pulmonary fibrosis may therefore predispose these patients to increased cellular viral entry in the lung, which may explain the worse clinical outcome observed in our cohort. Our study demonstrates that patients at risk of clinical deterioration can be identified early by echocardiographic strain analysis and quantification of blood TGF-ß1 mRNA performed at the time of first medical contact.

COVID-19/physiopathology , Heart Ventricles/pathology , Myocardium/pathology , Pulmonary Fibrosis/physiopathology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/immunology , Female , Fibrosis , Heart Ventricles/metabolism , Humans , Interleukin-1 Receptor-Like 1 Protein/genetics , Interleukin-1 Receptor-Like 1 Protein/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Myocardium/metabolism , Neuropilin-1/genetics , Neuropilin-1/metabolism , Pulmonary Fibrosis/immunology , Risk , Severity of Illness Index , Transforming Growth Factor beta1/genetics , Transforming Growth Factor beta1/metabolism , Viral Load
Eur J Heart Fail ; 22(12): 2248-2257, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1070736


AIMS: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a widespread pandemic with an increased morbidity and mortality, especially for patients with cardiovascular diseases. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) has been identified as necessary cell entry point for SARS-CoV-2. Previous animal studies have demonstrated an increased ACE2 expression following treatment with either angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEi) or angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARB) that have led to a massive precariousness regarding the optimal cardiovascular therapy during this pandemic. METHODS AND RESULTS: We have measured ACE2 mRNA expression using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction in atrial biopsies of 81 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting and we compared 62 patients that received ACEi/ARB vs. 19 patients that were not ACEi/ARB-treated. We found atrial ACE2 mRNA expression to be significantly increased in patients treated with an ACEi or an ARB, independent of potential confounding comorbidities. Interestingly, the cardiac ACE2 mRNA expression correlated significantly with the expression in white blood cells of 22 patients encouraging further evaluation if the latter may be used as a surrogate for the former. Similarly, analysis of 18 ventricular biopsies revealed a significant and independent increase in ACE2 mRNA expression in patients with end-stage heart failure that were treated with ACEi/ARB. On the other hand, cardiac unloading with a left ventricular assist device significantly reduced ventricular ACE2 mRNA expression. CONCLUSION: Treatment with ACEi/ARB is independently associated with an increased myocardial ACE2 mRNA expression in patients with coronary artery disease and in patients with end-stage heart failure. Further trials are needed to test whether this association is deleterious for patients with COVID-19, or possibly protective. Nevertheless, haemodynamic factors seem to be equally important for regulation of cardiac ACE2 mRNA expression.

Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists/therapeutic use , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/therapeutic use , COVID-19 , Leukocytes/metabolism , Myocardium/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Receptors, Coronavirus/genetics , Aged , Coronary Artery Bypass , Coronary Artery Disease/surgery , Female , Heart Failure/therapy , Heart-Assist Devices , Hemodynamics , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2
ESC Heart Fail ; 8(1): 309-316, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1064347


AIMS: We aimed to assess whether expression of whole-blood RNA of sodium proton exchanger 1 (NHE1) and glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1) is associated with COVID-19 infection and outcome in patients presenting to the emergency department with respiratory infections. Furthermore, we investigated NHE1 and GLUT1 expression in the myocardium of deceased COVID-19 patients. METHODS AND RESULTS: Whole-blood quantitative assessment of NHE1 and GLUT1 RNA was performed using quantitative PCR in patients with respiratory infection upon first contact in the emergency department and subsequently stratified by SARS-CoV-2 infection status. Assessment of NHE1 and GLUT1 RNA using PCR was also performed in left ventricular myocardium of deceased COVID-19 patients. NHE1 expression is up-regulated in whole blood of patients with COVID-19 compared with other respiratory infections at first medical contact in the emergency department (control: 0.0021 ± 0.0002, COVID-19: 0.0031 ± 0.0003, P = 0.01). The ratio of GLUT1 to NHE1 is significantly decreased in the blood of COVID-19 patients who are subsequently intubated and/or die (severe disease) compared with patients with moderate disease (moderate disease: 0.497 ± 0.083 vs. severe disease: 0.294 ± 0.0336, P = 0.036). This ratio is even further decreased in the myocardium of patients who deceased from COVID-19 in comparison with the myocardium of non-infected donors. CONCLUSIONS: NHE1 and GLUT1 may be critically involved in the disease progression of SARS-CoV-2 infection. We show here that SARS-CoV-2 infection critically disturbs ion channel expression in the heart. A decreased ratio of GLUT1/NHE1 could potentially serve as a biomarker for disease severity in patients with COVID-19.

COVID-19/metabolism , Glucose Transporter Type 1/blood , Sodium-Hydrogen Exchanger 1/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , Case-Control Studies , Emergency Service, Hospital , Female , Glucose Transporter Type 1/metabolism , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Polymerase Chain Reaction , Predictive Value of Tests , Prospective Studies , RNA, Messenger/blood , Severity of Illness Index , Sodium-Hydrogen Exchanger 1/metabolism