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Int J Mol Sci ; 22(13)2021 Jun 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1282516


The SARS-CoV-2 virus utilizes angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE-2) for cell entry and infection. This enzyme has important functions in the renin-angiotensin aldosterone system to preserve cardiovascular function. In addition to the heart, it is expressed in many tissues including the lung, intestines, brain, and kidney, however, its functions in these organs are mostly unknown. ACE-2 has membrane-bound and soluble forms. Its expression levels are altered in disease states and by a variety of medications. Currently, it is not clear how altered ACE-2 levels influence ACE-2 virulence and relevant complications. In addition, membrane-bound and soluble forms are thought to have different effects. Most work on this topic in the literature is on the SARS-CoV virus that has a high genetic resemblance to SARS-Co-V-2 and also uses ACE-2 enzyme to enter the cell, but with much lower affinity. More recent studies on SARS-CoV-2 are mainly clinical studies aiming at relating the effect of medications that are thought to influence ACE-2 levels, with COVID-19 outcomes for patients under these medications. This review paper aims to summarize what is known about the relationship between ACE-2 levels and SARS-CoV/SARS-CoV-2 virulence under altered ACE-2 expression states.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/physiology , COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors , Host Microbial Interactions , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Virulence
J Appl Physiol (1985) ; 130(4): 1143-1151, 2021 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1189943


Many patients who suffer from pulmonary diseases cannot inflate their lungs normally, as they need mechanical ventilation (MV) to assist them. The stress associated with MV can damage the delicate epithelium in small airways and alveoli, which can cause complications resulting in ventilation-induced lung injuries (VILIs) in many cases, especially in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Therefore, efforts were directed to develop safe modes for MV. In our work, we propose a different approach to decrease injuries of epithelial cells (EpCs) upon MV. We alter EpCs' cytoskeletal structure to increase their survival rate during airway reopening conditions associated with MV. We tested two anti-inflammatory drugs dexamethasone (DEX) and transdehydroandrosterone (DHEA) to alter the cytoskeleton. Cultured rat L2 alveolar EpCs were exposed to airway reopening conditions using a parallel-plate perfusion chamber. Cells were exposed to a single bubble propagation to simulate stresses associated with mechanical ventilation in both control and study groups. Cellular injury and cytoskeleton reorganization were assessed via fluorescence microscopy, whereas cell topography was studied via atomic force microscopy (AFM). Our results indicate that culturing cells in media, DEX solution, or DHEA solution did not lead to cell death (static cultures). Bubble flows caused significant cell injury. Preexposure to DEX or DHEA decreased cell death significantly. The AFM verified alteration of cell mechanics due to actin fiber depolymerization. These results suggest potential beneficial effects of DEX and DHEA for ARDS treatment for patients with COVID-19. They are also critical for VILIs and applicable to future clinical studies.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Preexposure of cultured cells to either dexamethasone or transdehydroandrosterone significantly decreases cellular injuries associated with mechanical ventilation due to their ability to alter the cell mechanics. This is an alternative protective method against VILIs instead of common methods that rely on modification of mechanical ventilator modes.

Androsterone/therapeutic use , Dexamethasone/therapeutic use , Lung Injury/drug therapy , Respiration, Artificial/adverse effects , Animals , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/therapy , Cell Death/drug effects , Cells, Cultured , Cytoskeleton/drug effects , Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Lung Injury/etiology , Rats
Emergent Mater ; : 1-2, 2021 Mar 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1130992
Front Bioeng Biotechnol ; 8: 579788, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1038606


Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is an acute inflammatory lung condition. It is characterized by disruption of gas exchange inside the alveoli, accumulation of protein edema, and an increase in lung stiffness. One major cause of ARDS is a lung infection, such as SARS-COV-2 infection. Lungs of ARDS patients need to be mechanically ventilated for airway reopening. Consequently, ventilation might damage delicate lung tissue leading to excess edema, known as ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI). Mortality of COVID-19 patients under VILI seems to be higher than non-COVID patients, necessitating effective preventative therapies. VILI occurs when small air bubbles form in the alveoli, injuring epithelial cells (EPC) due to shear stress. Nitric oxide (NO) inhalation was suggested as a therapy for ARDS, however, it was shown that it is not effective because of the extremely short half-life of NO. In this study, NO-releasing nanoparticles were produced and tested in an in vitro model, representing airways in the deep lung. Cellular injuries were quantified via fluorescent live/dead assay. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to assess cell morphology. qRT-PCR was performed to assess the expression of inflammatory markers, specifically IL6 and CCL2. ELISA was performed to assess IL6 and confirm qRT-PCR results at the protein level. Finally, ROS levels were assessed in all groups. Here, we show that NO delivery via nanoparticles enhanced EPC survival and recovery, AFM measurements revealed that NO exposure affect cell morphology, while qRT-PCR demonstrated a significant downregulation in IL6 and CCL2 expression when treating the cells to NO both before and after shear exposure. ELISA results for IL6 confirmed qRT-PCR data. ROS experiment results support our findings from previous experiments. These findings demonstrate that NO-releasing nanoparticles can be used as an effective delivery approach of NO to deep lung to prevent/reduce ARDS associated inflammation and cell injuries. This information is particularly useful to treat severe ARDS due to COVID-19 infection. These nanoparticles will be useful when clinically administrated to COVID-19 patients to reduce the symptoms originating from lung distress.