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Cell Mol Life Sci ; 79(6): 309, 2022 May 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1919755


Blood clot formation induced by dysfunctional coagulation is a frequent complication of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and a high-risk factor for severe illness and death. Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are implicated in COVID-19-induced immunothrombosis. Furthermore, human cathelicidin, a NET component, can perturb the interaction between the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and its ACE2 receptor, which mediates viral entry into cells. At present, however, the levels of cathelicidin antimicrobial peptides after SARS-CoV-2 infection and their role in COVID-19 thrombosis formation remain unclear. In the current study, we analyzed coagulation function and found a decrease in thrombin time but an increase in fibrinogen level, prothrombin time, and activated partial thromboplastin time in COVID-19 patients. In addition, the cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide LL-37 was upregulated by the spike protein and significantly elevated in the plasma of patients. Furthermore, LL-37 levels were negatively correlated with thrombin time but positively correlated with fibrinogen level. In addition to platelet activation, cathelicidin peptides enhanced the activity of coagulation factors, such as factor Xa (FXa) and thrombin, which may induce hypercoagulation in diseases with high cathelicidin peptide levels. Injection of cathelicidin peptides promoted the formation of thrombosis, whereas deletion of cathelicidin inhibited thrombosis in vivo. These results suggest that cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide LL-37 is elevated during SARS-CoV-2 infection, which may induce hypercoagulation in COVID-19 patients by activating coagulation factors.

Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides , COVID-19 , Thrombosis , Blood Coagulation Factors , COVID-19/complications , Fibrinogen , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Thrombosis/virology
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-322523


Hypercytokinemia is a critically fatal factor in COVID-19. However, underlying pathogenic mechanisms are unknown. Here we show that fibrinogen and leukotriene-A4 hydrolase (LTA4H), two of the most potent inflammatory contributors, are elevated by 67.7 and astonishing 227.7% in the plasma of patients infected by SARS-CoV-2 and admitted to intensive care unit in comparison with healthy control, respectively. Conversely, transferrin identified as a fibrinogen immobilizer in our recent work and Spink6 are down-regulated by 40.3 and 25.9%, respectively. Furthermore, we identify Spink6 as the first endogenous inhibitor of LTA4H, a pro-inflammatory enzyme catalyzing final and rating limited step in biosynthesis of leukotriene-B4 that is an extremely inflammatory mediator and a target to design superior anti-inflammatory drugs. Additionally, virus Spike protein is found to evoke LTA4H and fibrinogen expression in vivo. Collectively, these findings identify the imbalance between inflammatory drivers and antagonists, which likely contributes to hypercytokinemia in COVID-19. Spink6 may have superior anti-inflammatory function because it specifically targets epoxide hydrolase of LTA4H to inhibit leukotriene-B4 biosynthesis without effecting LTA4H’s aminopeptidase activity.