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1.
Matrix Biol Plus ; 14: 100106, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1768400

ABSTRACT

The vascular endothelium is the interface between circulating blood and end organs and thus has a critical role in preserving organ function. The endothelium is lined by a glycan-rich glycocalyx that uniquely contributes to endothelial function through its regulation of leukocyte and platelet interactions with the vessel wall, vascular permeability, coagulation, and vasoreactivity. Degradation of the endothelial glycocalyx can thus promote vascular dysfunction, inflammation propagation, and organ injury. The endothelial glycocalyx and its role in vascular pathophysiology has gained increasing attention over the last decade. While studies characterizing vascular glycocalyx injury and its downstream consequences in a host of adult human diseases and in animal models has burgeoned, studies evaluating glycocalyx damage in pediatric diseases are relatively few. As children have unique physiology that differs from adults, significant knowledge gaps remain in our understanding of the causes and effects of endothelial glycocalyx disintegrity in pediatric critical illness. In this narrative literature overview, we offer a unique perspective on the role of the endothelial glycocalyx in pediatric critical illness, drawing from adult and preclinical data in addition to pediatric clinical experience to elucidate how marked derangement of the endothelial surface layer may contribute to aberrant vascular biology in children. By calling attention to this nascent field, we hope to increase research efforts to address important knowledge gaps in pediatric vascular biology that may inform the development of novel therapeutic strategies.

2.
JCI Insight ; 6(18)2021 09 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1435144

ABSTRACT

Neutrophils provide a critical line of defense in immune responses to various pathogens, inflicting self-damage upon transition to a hyperactivated, procoagulant state. Recent work has highlighted proinflammatory neutrophil phenotypes contributing to lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Here, we use state-of-the art mass spectrometry-based proteomics and transcriptomic and correlative analyses as well as functional in vitro and in vivo studies to dissect how neutrophils contribute to the progression to severe COVID-19. We identify a reinforcing loop of both systemic and neutrophil intrinsic IL-8 (CXCL8/IL-8) dysregulation, which initiates and perpetuates neutrophil-driven immunopathology. This positive feedback loop of systemic and neutrophil autocrine IL-8 production leads to an activated, prothrombotic neutrophil phenotype characterized by degranulation and neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation. In severe COVID-19, neutrophils directly initiate the coagulation and complement cascade, highlighting a link to the immunothrombotic state observed in these patients. Targeting the IL-8-CXCR-1/-2 axis interferes with this vicious cycle and attenuates neutrophil activation, degranulation, NETosis, and IL-8 release. Finally, we show that blocking IL-8-like signaling reduces severe acute respiratory distress syndrome of coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein-induced, human ACE2-dependent pulmonary microthrombosis in mice. In summary, our data provide comprehensive insights into the activation mechanisms of neutrophils in COVID-19 and uncover a self-sustaining neutrophil-IL-8 axis as a promising therapeutic target in severe SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Interleukin-8/metabolism , Lung/immunology , Neutrophils/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Thrombosis/etiology , Animals , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/pathology , Humans , Lung/pathology , Mice , Neutrophil Activation , Neutrophils/pathology , Phenotype , Thrombosis/pathology
3.
JCI Insight ; 6(17)2021 09 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1413722

ABSTRACT

Neutrophil-mediated activation and injury of the endothelium play roles in the pathogenesis of diverse disease states ranging from autoimmunity to cancer to COVID-19. Neutralization of cationic proteins (such as neutrophil extracellular trap-derived [NET-derived] histones) with polyanionic compounds has been suggested as a potential strategy for protecting the endothelium from such insults. Here, we report that the US Food and Drug Administration-approved polyanionic agent defibrotide (a pleiotropic mixture of oligonucleotides) directly engages histones and thereby blocks their pathological effects on endothelium. In vitro, defibrotide counteracted endothelial cell activation and pyroptosis-mediated cell death, whether triggered by purified NETs or recombinant histone H4. In vivo, defibrotide stabilized the endothelium and protected against histone-accelerated inferior vena cava thrombosis in mice. Mechanistically, defibrotide demonstrated direct and tight binding to histone H4 as detected by both electrophoretic mobility shift assay and surface plasmon resonance. Taken together, these data provide insights into the potential role of polyanionic compounds in protecting the endothelium from thromboinflammation with potential implications for myriad NET- and histone-accelerated disease states.


Subject(s)
Fibrinolytic Agents/pharmacology , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/drug effects , Polydeoxyribonucleotides/pharmacology , Thrombosis/drug therapy , Animals , Extracellular Traps/drug effects , Extracellular Traps/metabolism , Fibrinolytic Agents/therapeutic use , Histones/metabolism , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Humans , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Polydeoxyribonucleotides/therapeutic use , Pyroptosis
4.
JCI Insight ; 6(20)2021 10 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1403154

ABSTRACT

Endothelial dysfunction accompanies the microvascular thrombosis commonly observed in severe COVID-19. Constitutively, the endothelial surface is anticoagulant, a property maintained at least in part via signaling through the Tie2 receptor. During inflammation, the Tie2 antagonist angiopoietin-2 (Angpt-2) is released from endothelial cells and inhibits Tie2, promoting a prothrombotic phenotypic shift. We sought to assess whether severe COVID-19 is associated with procoagulant endothelial dysfunction and alterations in the Tie2/angiopoietin axis. Primary HUVECs treated with plasma from patients with severe COVID-19 upregulated the expression of thromboinflammatory genes, inhibited the expression of antithrombotic genes, and promoted coagulation on the endothelial surface. Pharmacologic activation of Tie2 with the small molecule AKB-9778 reversed the prothrombotic state induced by COVID-19 plasma in primary endothelial cells. Lung autopsies from patients with COVID-19 demonstrated a prothrombotic endothelial signature. Assessment of circulating endothelial markers in a cohort of 98 patients with mild, moderate, or severe COVID-19 revealed endothelial dysfunction indicative of a prothrombotic state. Angpt-2 concentrations rose with increasing disease severity, and the highest levels were associated with worse survival. These data highlight the disruption of Tie2/angiopoietin signaling and procoagulant changes in endothelial cells in severe COVID-19. Our findings provide rationale for current trials of Tie2-activating therapy with AKB-9778 in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Endothelial Cells/drug effects , Protective Agents/pharmacology , Receptor, TIE-2/metabolism , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Angiopoietin-2/metabolism , Aniline Compounds , Female , Gene Expression , Humans , Lung , Male , Middle Aged , Receptor, TIE-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Signal Transduction , Sulfonic Acids , Vascular Diseases/metabolism , Young Adult
5.
JCI Insight ; 6(17)2021 09 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1327774

ABSTRACT

Vascular injury has emerged as a complication contributing to morbidity in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The glycosaminoglycan hyaluronan (HA) is a major component of the glycocalyx, a protective layer of glycoconjugates that lines the vascular lumen and regulates key endothelial cell functions. During critical illness, as in the case of sepsis, enzymes degrade the glycocalyx, releasing fragments with pathologic activities into circulation and thereby exacerbating disease. Here, we analyzed levels of circulating glycosaminoglycans in 46 patients with COVID-19 ranging from moderate to severe clinical severity and measured activities of corresponding degradative enzymes. This report provides evidence that the glycocalyx becomes significantly damaged in patients with COVID-19 and corresponds with severity of disease. Circulating HA fragments and hyaluronidase, 2 signatures of glycocalyx injury, strongly associate with sequential organ failure assessment scores and with increased inflammatory cytokine levels in patients with COVID-19. Pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells exposed to COVID-19 milieu show dysregulated HA biosynthesis and degradation, leading to production of pathological HA fragments that are released into circulation. Finally, we show that HA fragments present at high levels in COVID-19 patient plasma can directly induce endothelial barrier dysfunction in a ROCK- and CD44-dependent manner, indicating a role for HA in the vascular pathology of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Endothelium, Vascular/metabolism , Hyaluronic Acid/metabolism , Aged , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/pathology , Cytokines/blood , Endothelium, Vascular/pathology , Female , Glycocalyx/metabolism , Glycocalyx/pathology , Humans , Hyaluronan Receptors/metabolism , Hyaluronic Acid/blood , Hyaluronoglucosaminidase/blood , Hyaluronoglucosaminidase/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , rho-Associated Kinases/metabolism
6.
JCI Insight ; 6(14)2021 07 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1320462

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), remains a pandemic. Severe disease is associated with dysfunction of multiple organs, but some infected cells do not express ACE2, the canonical entry receptor for SARS-CoV-2. Here, we report that the C-type lectin receptor L-SIGN interacted in a Ca2+-dependent manner with high-mannose-type N-glycans on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. We found that L-SIGN was highly expressed on human liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs) and lymph node lymphatic endothelial cells but not on blood endothelial cells. Using high-resolution confocal microscopy imaging, we detected SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins within the LSECs from liver autopsy samples from patients with COVID-19. We found that both pseudo-typed virus enveloped with SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and authentic SARS-CoV-2 virus infected L-SIGN-expressing cells relative to control cells. Moreover, blocking L-SIGN function reduced CoV-2-type infection. These results indicate that L-SIGN is a receptor for SARS-CoV-2 infection. LSECs are major sources of the clotting factors vWF and factor VIII (FVIII). LSECs from liver autopsy samples from patients with COVID-19 expressed substantially higher levels of vWF and FVIII than LSECs from uninfected liver samples. Our data demonstrate that L-SIGN is an endothelial cell receptor for SARS-CoV-2 that may contribute to COVID-19-associated coagulopathy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Capillaries , Cell Adhesion Molecules/metabolism , Endothelial Cells , Lectins, C-Type/metabolism , Liver/blood supply , Lymphatic Vessels , Receptors, Cell Surface/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Capillaries/metabolism , Capillaries/pathology , Capillaries/virology , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Endothelial Cells/virology , Gene Expression Profiling/methods , Humans , Liver/pathology , Lymphatic Vessels/metabolism , Lymphatic Vessels/pathology , Lymphatic Vessels/virology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Virus Internalization
7.
Cardiovasc Res ; 117(8): 1814-1822, 2021 07 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1301347

ABSTRACT

2020 has been an extraordinary year. The emergence of COVID-19 has driven urgent research in pulmonary and cardiovascular science and other fields. It has also shaped the way that we work with many experimental laboratories shutting down for several months, while bioinformatics approaches and other large data projects have gained prominence. Despite these setbacks, vascular biology research is stronger than ever. On behalf of the European Society of Cardiology Council for Basic Cardiovascular Science (ESC CBCS), here we review some of the vascular biology research highlights for 2020. This review is not exhaustive and there are many outstanding vascular biology publications that we were unable to cite due to page limits. Notwithstanding this, we have provided a snapshot of vascular biology research excellence in 2020 and identify topics that are in the ascendency and likely to gain prominence in coming years.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Extracellular Traps/physiology , Neutrophils/cytology , Smartphone , Computational Biology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
8.
Front Cardiovasc Med ; 8: 681948, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1266657

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is associated with a large number of cardiovascular sequelae, including dysrhythmias, myocardial injury, myocarditis and thrombosis. The Notch pathway is one likely culprit leading to these complications due to its direct role in viral entry, inflammation and coagulation processes, all shown to be key parts of COVID-19 pathogenesis. This review highlights links between the pathophysiology of SARS-CoV2 and the Notch signaling pathway that serve as primary drivers of the cardiovascular complications seen in COVID-19 patients.

9.
Cells ; 10(4)2021 04 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1232578

ABSTRACT

Recent clinical trials have now firmly established that inflammation participates causally in human atherosclerosis. These observations point the way toward novel treatments that add to established therapies to help stem the growing global epidemic of cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, we now have a number of actionable targets whose clinical exploration will help achieve the goal of optimizing beneficial effects while avoiding undue interference with host defenses or other unwanted actions. This review aims to furnish the foundation for this quest by critical evaluation of the current state of anti-inflammatory interventions within close reach of clinical application, with a primary focus on innate immunity. In particular, this paper highlights the pathway from the inflammasome, through interleukin (IL)-1 to IL-6 supported by a promising body of pre-clinical, clinical, and human genetic data. This paper also considers the use of biomarkers to guide allocation of anti-inflammatory therapies as a step toward realizing the promise of precision medicine. The validation of decades of experimental work and association studies in humans by recent clinical investigations provides a strong impetus for further efforts to target inflammation in atherosclerosis to address the considerable risk that remains despite current therapies.


Subject(s)
Cardiovascular Diseases/pathology , Inflammasomes/metabolism , Inflammation/pathology , Interleukin-1/metabolism , Interleukin-6/metabolism , Animals , Humans , Precision Medicine
10.
JACC Basic Transl Sci ; 5(5): 537-542, 2020 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1023612

ABSTRACT

In the throes of the current coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, interest has burgeoned in the cardiovascular complications of this virulent viral infection. As troponin, a biomarker of cardiac injury, often rises in hospitalized patients, its interpretation and actionability require careful consideration. Fulminant myocarditis due to direct viral infection can certainly occur, but in patients with increased oxygen demands due to tachycardia and fever and reduced oxygen delivery due to hypotension and hypoxemia, COVID-19 disease can cause myocardial injury indirectly. Cytokines released during the acute infection can elicit activation of cells within pre-existing atherosclerotic lesions, augmenting thrombotic risk and risk of ischemic syndromes. Moreover, microvascular activation by cytokines can cause not only myocardial injury but can also harm other organ systems commonly involved in COVID-19 infections including the kidneys. Dealing with the immense challenge of COVID-19, confronted with severely ill patients in dire straits with virtually no rigorous evidence base to guide our therapy, we must call on our clinical skills and judgment. These touchstones can help guide us in selecting patients who might benefit from the advanced imaging and invasive procedures that present enormous logistical challenges in the current context. Lacking a robust evidence base, pathophysiologic reasoning can help guide our choices of therapy for individual clinical scenarios. We must exercise caution and extreme humility, as often plausible interventions fail when tested rigorously. But act today we must, and understanding the multiplicity of mechanisms of myocardial injury in COVID-19 infection will help us meet our mission unsupported by the comfort of strong data.

11.
Neurobiol Dis ; 146: 105131, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-872391

ABSTRACT

As researchers across the globe have focused their attention on understanding SARS-CoV-2, the picture that is emerging is that of a virus that has serious effects on the vasculature in multiple organ systems including the cerebral vasculature. Observed effects on the central nervous system include neurological symptoms (headache, nausea, dizziness), fatal microclot formation and in rare cases encephalitis. However, our understanding of how the virus causes these mild to severe neurological symptoms and how the cerebral vasculature is impacted remains unclear. Thus, the results presented in this report explored whether deleterious outcomes from the SARS-CoV-2 viral spike protein on primary human brain microvascular endothelial cells (hBMVECs) could be observed. The spike protein, which plays a key role in receptor recognition, is formed by the S1 subunit containing a receptor binding domain (RBD) and the S2 subunit. First, using postmortem brain tissue, we show that the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 or ACE2 (a known binding target for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein), is ubiquitously expressed throughout various vessel calibers in the frontal cortex. Moreover, ACE2 expression was upregulated in cases of hypertension and dementia. ACE2 was also detectable in primary hBMVECs maintained under cell culture conditions. Analysis of cell viability revealed that neither the S1, S2 or a truncated form of the S1 containing only the RBD had minimal effects on hBMVEC viability within a 48 h exposure window. Introduction of spike proteins to invitro models of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) showed significant changes to barrier properties. Key to our findings is the demonstration that S1 promotes loss of barrier integrity in an advanced 3D microfluidic model of the human BBB, a platform that more closely resembles the physiological conditions at this CNS interface. Evidence provided suggests that the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins trigger a pro-inflammatory response on brain endothelial cells that may contribute to an altered state of BBB function. Together, these results are the first to show the direct impact that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein could have on brain endothelial cells; thereby offering a plausible explanation for the neurological consequences seen in COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Blood-Brain Barrier/metabolism , Capillary Permeability/physiology , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Inflammation/metabolism , Matrix Metalloproteinases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/physiology , Blood-Brain Barrier/drug effects , COVID-19 , Capillary Permeability/drug effects , Cell Adhesion Molecules/drug effects , Cell Adhesion Molecules/metabolism , Cell Survival/drug effects , Dementia/metabolism , Electric Impedance , Endothelial Cells/drug effects , Frontal Lobe/metabolism , Humans , Hypertension/metabolism , In Vitro Techniques , Intercellular Junctions/metabolism , Interleukin-6/genetics , Interleukin-6/metabolism , Lab-On-A-Chip Devices , Matrix Metalloproteinases/drug effects , Primary Cell Culture , Protein Domains , Protein Subunits/metabolism , Protein Subunits/pharmacology , RNA, Messenger/drug effects , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/pharmacology
12.
Open Biol ; 10(8): 200208, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-733298

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 management guidelines have largely attributed critically ill patients who develop acute respiratory distress syndrome, to a systemic overproduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Cardiovascular dysfunction may also represent a primary phenomenon, with increasing data suggesting that severe COVID-19 reflects a confluence of vascular dysfunction, thrombosis and dysregulated inflammation. Here, we first consolidate the information on localized microvascular inflammation and disordered cytokine release, triggering vessel permeability and prothrombotic conditions that play a central role in perpetuating the pathogenic COVID-19 cascade. Secondly, we seek to clarify the gateways which SARS-CoV-2, the causative COVID-19 virus, uses to enter host vascular cells. Post-mortem examinations of patients' tissues have confirmed direct viral endothelial infection within several organs. While there have been advances in single-cell RNA sequencing, endothelial cells across various vascular beds express low or undetectable levels of those touted SARS-CoV-2 entry factors. Emerging studies postulate alternative pathways and the apicobasal distribution of host cell surface factors could influence endothelial SARS-CoV-2 entry and replication. Finally, we provide experimental considerations such as endothelial polarity, cellular heterogeneity in organoids and shear stress dynamics in designing cellular models to facilitate research on viral-induced endothelial dysfunctions. Understanding the vascular underpinning of COVID-19 pathogenesis is crucial to managing outcomes and mortality.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Inflammation/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Thrombosis/pathology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Capillary Permeability/physiology , Comorbidity , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/mortality , Cytokine Release Syndrome/immunology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/pathology , Cytokines/blood , Endothelial Cells/virology , Humans , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/mortality , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/immunology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/pathology , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Virus Internalization
13.
Front Physiol ; 11: 989, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-732848

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has affected millions of people globally. Clinically, it presents with mild flu-like symptoms in most cases but can cause respiratory failure in high risk population. With the aim of unearthing newer treatments, scientists all over the globe are striving hard to comprehend the underlying mechanisms of COVID-19. Several studies till date have indicated a dysregulated host immune response as the major cause of COVID-19 induced mortality. In this Perspective, we propose a key role of endothelium, particularly pulmonary endothelium in the pathogenesis of COVID-19. We draw parallels and divergences between COVID-19-induced respiratory distress and bacterial sepsis-induced lung injury and recommend the road ahead with respect to identification of endothelium-based biomarkers and plausible treatments for COVID-19.

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