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1.
Int J Cardiol ; 2021 Dec 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1549827

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Compelling evidence has shown cardiac involvement in COVID-19 patients. However, the overall majority of these studies use data obtained during the first wave of the pandemic, while recently differences have been reported in disease course and mortality between first- and second wave COVID-19 patients. The aim of this study was to analyze and compare cardiac pathology between first- and second wave COVID-19 patients. METHODS: Autopsied hearts from first- (n = 15) and second wave (n = 10) COVID-19 patients and from 18 non-COVID-19 control patients were (immuno)histochemically analyzed. CD45+ leukocyte, CD68+ macrophage and CD3+ T lymphocyte infiltration, cardiomyocyte necrosis and microvascular thrombosis were quantified. In addition, the procoagulant factors Tissue Factor (TF), Factor VII (FVII), Factor XII (FXII), the anticoagulant protein Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4 (DPP4) and the advanced glycation end-product N(ε)-Carboxymethyllysine (CML), as markers of microvascular thrombogenicity and dysfunction, were quantified. RESULTS: Cardiac inflammation was significantly decreased in second wave compared to first wave COVID-19 patients, predominantly related to a decrease in infiltrated lymphocytes and the occurrence of lymphocytic myocarditis. This was accompanied by significant decreases in cardiomyocyte injury and microvascular thrombosis. Moreover, microvascular deposits of FVII and CML were significantly lower in second wave compared to first wave COVID-19 patients. CONCLUSIONS: These results show that in our cohort of fatal COVID-19 cases cardiac inflammation, cardiomyocyte injury and microvascular thrombogenicity were markedly decreased in second wave compared to first wave patients. This may reflect advances in COVID-19 treatment related to an increased use of steroids in the second COVID-19 wave.

2.
Lancet Microbe ; 1(7): e290-e299, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1087376

ABSTRACT

Background: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) targets multiple organs and causes severe coagulopathy. Histopathological organ changes might not only be attributable to a direct virus-induced effect, but also the immune response. The aims of this study were to assess the duration of viral presence, identify the extent of inflammatory response, and investigate the underlying cause of coagulopathy. Methods: This prospective autopsy cohort study was done at Amsterdam University Medical Centers (UMC), the Netherlands. With informed consent from relatives, full body autopsy was done on 21 patients with COVID-19 for whom autopsy was requested between March 9 and May 18, 2020. In addition to histopathological evaluation of organ damage, the presence of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein and the composition of the immune infiltrate and thrombi were assessed, and all were linked to disease course. Findings: Our cohort (n=21) included 16 (76%) men, and median age was 68 years (range 41-78). Median disease course (time from onset of symptoms to death) was 22 days (range 5-44 days). In 11 patients tested for SARS-CoV-2 tropism, SARS-CoV-2 infected cells were present in multiple organs, most abundantly in the lungs, but presence in the lungs became sporadic with increased disease course. Other SARS-CoV-2-positive organs included the upper respiratory tract, heart, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract. In histological analyses of organs (sampled from nine to 21 patients per organ), an extensive inflammatory response was present in the lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, and brain. In the brain, extensive inflammation was seen in the olfactory bulbs and medulla oblongata. Thrombi and neutrophilic plugs were present in the lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, spleen, and brain and were most frequently observed late in the disease course (15 patients with thrombi, median disease course 22 days [5-44]; ten patients with neutrophilic plugs, 21 days [5-44]). Neutrophilic plugs were observed in two forms: solely composed of neutrophils with neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), or as aggregates of NETs and platelets.. Interpretation: In patients with lethal COVID-19, an extensive systemic inflammatory response was present, with a continued presence of neutrophils and NETs. However, SARS-CoV-2-infected cells were only sporadically present at late stages of COVID-19. This suggests a maladaptive immune response and substantiates the evidence for immunomodulation as a target in the treatment of severe COVID-19. Funding: Amsterdam UMC Corona Research Fund.

3.
Eur Heart J ; 41(39): 3827-3835, 2020 Oct 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-791511

ABSTRACT

AIMS: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) due to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been associated with cardiovascular features of myocardial involvement including elevated serum troponin levels and acute heart failure with reduced ejection fraction. The cardiac pathological changes in these patients with COVID-19 have yet to be well described. METHODS AND RESULTS: In an international multicentre study, cardiac tissue from the autopsies of 21 consecutive COVID-19 patients was assessed by cardiovascular pathologists. The presence of myocarditis, as defined by the presence of multiple foci of inflammation with associated myocyte injury, was determined, and the inflammatory cell composition analysed by immunohistochemistry. Other forms of acute myocyte injury and inflammation were also described, as well as coronary artery, endocardium, and pericardium involvement. Lymphocytic myocarditis was present in 3 (14%) of the cases. In two of these cases, the T lymphocytes were CD4 predominant and in one case the T lymphocytes were CD8 predominant. Increased interstitial macrophage infiltration was present in 18 (86%) of the cases. A mild pericarditis was present in four cases. Acute myocyte injury in the right ventricle, most probably due to strain/overload, was present in four cases. There was a non-significant trend toward higher serum troponin levels in the patients with myocarditis compared with those without myocarditis. Disrupted coronary artery plaques, coronary artery aneurysms, and large pulmonary emboli were not identified. CONCLUSIONS: In SARS-CoV-2 there are increased interstitial macrophages in a majority of the cases and multifocal lymphocytic myocarditis in a small fraction of the cases. Other forms of myocardial injury are also present in these patients. The macrophage infiltration may reflect underlying diseases rather than COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Cardiomyopathies/pathology , Coronary Vessels/pathology , Endocardium/pathology , Humans , Macrophages/pathology , Muscle Cells/pathology , Myocarditis/pathology , Myocardium/pathology , Pericardium/pathology
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