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1.
Front Immunol ; 12: 780804, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1648493

ABSTRACT

Objectives: Currently, cardiovascular risk associated with COVID-19 has been brought to people's attention, but the mechanism is not clear. The aim of this study is to elucidate the mechanisms based on multiple omics data. Methodology: Weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) was used to identify key pathways. Combination analysis with aneurysm and atherosclerosis related pathways, hypoxia induced factor-1 (HIF-1) signaling were identified as key pathways of the increased cardiovascular risk associated with COVID-19. ScMLnet algorithm based on scRNA-seq was used to explore the regulation of HIF-1 pathway by intercellular communication. Proteomic analysis was used to detect the regulatory mechanisms between IL18 and HIF-1 signaling pathway. Pseudo time locus analysis was used to study the regulation of HIF1 signaling pathway in macrophages and vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) phenotypic transformation. The Virtual Inference of protein-activity by Enriched Regulon (VIPER) analysis was used to study the activity of regulatory proteins. Epigenetic analysis based on methylation revealed epigenetic changes in PBMC after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Potential therapeutic compounds were explored by using Cmap algorithm. Results: HIF-1 signaling pathway is a common key pathway for aneurysms, atherosclerosis and SARS-CoV-2 infection. Intercellular communication analysis showed that macrophage-derived interleukin-18 (IL-18) activates the HIF-1 signaling pathway through IL18R1. Proteomic analysis showed that IL18/IL18R1 promote NF-κB entry into the nucleus, and activated the HIF-1 signaling pathway. Macrophage-derived IL18 promoted the M1 polarization of macrophages and the syntactic phenotype transformation of VSMCs. MAP2K1 mediates the functional regulation of HIF-1 signaling pathway in various cell types. Epigenetic changes in PBMC after COVID-19 infection are characterized by activation of the type I interferon pathway. MEK inhibitors are the promising compounds for the treatment of HIF-1 overactivation. Conclusions: The IL18/IL18R1/HIF1A axis is expected to be an therapeutic target for cardiovascular protection after SARS-CoV-2 infection. MEK inhibitors may be an choice for cardiovascular protection after SARS-COV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Aneurysm/etiology , Aneurysm/metabolism , Atherosclerosis/etiology , Atherosclerosis/metabolism , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/complications , Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit/metabolism , Interleukin-18 Receptor alpha Subunit/metabolism , Interleukin-18/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Signal Transduction , Aneurysm/pathology , Atherosclerosis/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Case-Control Studies , Cells, Cultured , Epigenesis, Genetic , Humans , Interferon Type I/metabolism , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/metabolism , Macrophages/metabolism , Myocytes, Smooth Muscle/metabolism , NF-kappa B/metabolism , Proteomics/methods , RNA-Seq/methods , Risk Factors , Single-Cell Analysis/methods
2.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(20)2021 Oct 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1470892

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases are characterized by a dysregulated inflammatory and thrombotic state, leading to devastating complications with increased morbidity and mortality rates. SUMMARY: In this review article, we present the available evidence regarding the impact of inflammation on platelet activation in atherosclerosis. Key messages: In the context of a dysfunctional vascular endothelium, structural alterations by means of endothelial glycocalyx thinning or functional modifications through impaired NO bioavailability and increased levels of von Willebrand factor result in platelet activation. Moreover, neutrophil-derived mediators, as well as neutrophil extracellular traps formation, have been implicated in the process of platelet activation and platelet-leukocyte aggregation. The role of pro-inflammatory cytokines is also critical since their receptors are also situated in platelets while TNF-α has also been found to induce inflammatory, metabolic, and bone marrow changes. Additionally, important progress has been made towards novel concepts of the interaction between inflammation and platelet activation, such as the toll-like receptors, myeloperoxidase, and platelet factor-4. The accumulating evidence is especially important in the era of the coronavirus disease-19 pandemic, characterized by an excessive inflammatory burden leading to thrombotic complications, partially mediated by platelet activation. Lastly, recent advances in anti-inflammatory therapies point towards an anti-thrombotic effect secondary to diminished platelet activation.


Subject(s)
Atherosclerosis/pathology , COVID-19/pathology , Inflammation Mediators/metabolism , Atherosclerosis/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Endothelium, Vascular/metabolism , Humans , Neutrophils/metabolism , Nitric Oxide/metabolism , Platelet Activation , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , von Willebrand Factor/metabolism
3.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(15)2021 Jul 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1346497

ABSTRACT

Platelets are hematopoietic cells whose main function has for a long time been considered to be the maintenance of vascular integrity. They have an essential role in the hemostatic response, but they also have functional capabilities that go far beyond it. This review will provide an overview of platelet functions. Indeed, stress signals may induce platelet apoptosis through proapoptotis or hemostasis receptors, necrosis, and even autophagy. Platelets also interact with immune cells and modulate immune responses in terms of activation, maturation, recruitment and cytokine secretion. This review will also show that platelets, thanks to their wide range of innate immune receptors, and in particular toll-like receptors, and can be considered sentinels actively participating in the immuno-surveillance of the body. We will discuss the diversity of platelet responses following the engagement of these receptors as well as the signaling pathways involved. Finally, we will show that while platelets contribute significantly, via their TLRs, to immune response and inflammation, these receptors also participate in the pathophysiological processes associated with various pathogens and diseases, including cancer and atherosclerosis.


Subject(s)
Atherosclerosis/pathology , Blood Platelets/pathology , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Neoplasms/pathology , Platelet Activation , Receptors, Immunologic/metabolism , Toll-Like Receptors/metabolism , Animals , Atherosclerosis/immunology , Atherosclerosis/metabolism , Blood Platelets/immunology , Blood Platelets/metabolism , Humans , Neoplasms/immunology , Neoplasms/metabolism
4.
Cardiovasc Pathol ; 54: 107370, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1309178

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is commonly associated with myocardial injury and heart failure. The pathophysiology behind this phenomenon remains unclear, with many diverse and multifaceted hypotheses. To contribute to this understanding, we describe the underlying cardiac findings in fifty patients who died with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). METHODS: Included were autopsies performed on patients with a positive SARS-CoV-2 reverse-transcriptase-polymerase-chain reaction test from the index hospitalization. In the case of out-of-hospital death, patients were included if post-mortem testing was positive. Complete autopsies were performed according to a COVID-19 safety protocol, and all patients underwent both macroscopic and microscopic examination. If available, laboratory findings and echocardiograms were reported. RESULTS: The median age of the decedents was 63.5 years. The most common comorbidities included hypertension (90.0%), diabetes (56.0%) and obesity (50.0%). Lymphocytic inflammatory infiltrates in the heart were present in eight (16.0%) patients, with focal myocarditis present in two (4.0%) patients. Acute myocardial ischemia was observed in eight (16.0%) patients. The most common findings were myocardial fibrosis (80.0%), hypertrophy (72.0%), and microthrombi (66.0%). The most common causes of death were COVID-19 pneumonia in 18 (36.0%), COVID-19 pneumonia with bacterial superinfection in 12 (24.0%), and COVID-19 pneumonia with pulmonary embolism in 10 (20.0%) patients. CONCLUSIONS: Cardiovascular comorbidities were prevalent, and pathologic changes associated with hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease were the most common findings. Despite markedly elevated inflammatory markers and cardiac enzymes, few patients exhibited inflammatory infiltrates or necrosis within cardiac myocytes. A unifying pathophysiologic mechanism behind myocardial injury in COVID-19 remains elusive, and additional autopsy studies are needed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Heart Diseases/pathology , Myocardium/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Atherosclerosis/mortality , Atherosclerosis/pathology , Autopsy , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/virology , Comorbidity , Female , Heart Diseases/immunology , Heart Diseases/mortality , Heart Diseases/virology , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Hypertension/mortality , Hypertension/pathology , Inflammation Mediators/analysis , Male , Middle Aged , Myocardium/immunology , Necrosis , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Up-Regulation
5.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(8)2021 Apr 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1298164

ABSTRACT

Lifestyle changes, such as overeating and underexercising, can increase the risk of prediabetes. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of atherosclerosis, and recently it became clear that the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis progresses even before the onset of diabetic symptoms. In addition to changes in platelets and leukocytes in the hyperglycemic state and damage to vascular endothelial cells, extracellular vesicles and microRNAs were found to be involved in the progression of prediabetes atherosclerosis. This review discusses the cellular and molecular mechanisms of these processes, with an intention to enable a comprehensive understanding of the pathophysiology of prediabetes and atherosclerosis.


Subject(s)
Atherosclerosis/complications , Prediabetic State/complications , Animals , Atherosclerosis/genetics , Atherosclerosis/pathology , Atherosclerosis/physiopathology , Endothelium, Vascular/pathology , Endothelium, Vascular/physiopathology , Extracellular Vesicles/metabolism , Humans , Inflammation Mediators/metabolism , Obesity/complications , Prediabetic State/genetics , Prediabetic State/therapy
6.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(12)2021 Jun 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1282515

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been associated with excess mortality worldwide. The cardiovascular system is the second most common target of SARS-CoV-2, which leads to severe complications, including acute myocardial injury, myocarditis, arrhythmias, and venous thromboembolism, as well as other major thrombotic events because of direct endothelial injury and an excessive systemic inflammatory response. This review focuses on the similarities and the differences of inflammatory pathways involved in COVID-19 and atherosclerosis. Anti-inflammatory agents and immunomodulators have recently been assessed, which may constitute rational treatments for the reduction of cardiovascular events in both COVID-19 and atherosclerotic heart disease.


Subject(s)
Atherosclerosis/pathology , COVID-19/pathology , Adrenal Cortex Hormones/therapeutic use , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/therapeutic use , Atherosclerosis/complications , Atherosclerosis/drug therapy , Atherosclerosis/prevention & control , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Chemokines/metabolism , Cytokine Release Syndrome/etiology , Cytokines/metabolism , Humans , Prognosis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism
7.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(12)2021 Jun 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1273455

ABSTRACT

Inflammation is an old concept that has started to be considered as an important factor in infection and chronic diseases. The role of leukocytes, the plasmatic components, then of the mediators such as prostaglandins, cytokines, and, in recent decades, of the endothelium has completed the concept of the inflammation process. The function of the endothelium appeared to be crucial as a regulator or the initiator of the inflammatory process. Culture of human endothelial cells and experimental systems made it possible to define the molecular basis of inflammation in vascular diseases, in diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, vasculitis and thromboembolic complications. Advanced glycation end product receptor (RAGE), present on endothelial cells (ECs) and monocytes, participates in the activation of these cells in inflammatory conditions. Inflammasome is a cytosolic multiprotein that controls the response to diverse microorganisms. It is positively regulated by stimulator of interferon response CGAMP interactor-1 (STING1). Angiogenesis and thrombotic events are dysregulated during inflammation. ECs appear to be a protector, but also a possible initiator of thrombosis.


Subject(s)
Atherosclerosis/pathology , Endothelium, Vascular/metabolism , Thrombosis/pathology , Atherosclerosis/metabolism , Endothelium, Vascular/cytology , Humans , Inflammasomes/metabolism , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , Neovascularization, Physiologic , Nitric Oxide/metabolism , Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products/metabolism , Thrombosis/metabolism
8.
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci ; 25(10): 3772-3790, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1264762

ABSTRACT

Multiple epidemiological studies have suggested that industrialization and progressive urbanization should be considered one of the main factors responsible for the rising of atherosclerosis in the developing world. In this scenario, the role of trace metals in the insurgence and progression of atherosclerosis has not been clarified yet. In this paper, the specific role of selected trace elements (magnesium, zinc, selenium, iron, copper, phosphorus, and calcium) is described by focusing on the atherosclerotic prevention and pathogenesis plaque. For each element, the following data are reported: daily intake, serum levels, intra/extracellular distribution, major roles in physiology, main effects of high and low levels, specific roles in atherosclerosis, possible interactions with other trace elements, and possible influences on plaque development. For each trace element, the correlations between its levels and clinical severity and outcome of COVID-19 are discussed. Moreover, the role of matrix metalloproteinases, a family of zinc-dependent endopeptidases, as a new medical therapeutical approach to atherosclerosis is discussed. Data suggest that trace element status may influence both atherosclerosis insurgence and plaque evolution toward a stable or an unstable status. However, significant variability in the action of these traces is evident: some - including magnesium, zinc, and selenium - may have a protective role, whereas others, including iron and copper, probably have a multi-faceted and more complex role in the pathogenesis of the atherosclerotic plaque. Finally, calcium and phosphorus are implicated in the calcification of atherosclerotic plaques and in the progression of the plaque toward rupture and severe clinical complications. In particular, the role of calcium is debated. Focusing on the COVID-19 pandemia, optimized magnesium and zinc levels are indicated as important protective tools against a severe clinical course of the disease, often related to the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to cause a systemic inflammatory response, able to transform a stable plaque into an unstable one, with severe clinical complications.


Subject(s)
Atherosclerosis/pathology , Trace Elements/metabolism , Atherosclerosis/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Calcium/blood , Calcium/metabolism , Copper/blood , Copper/metabolism , Humans , Iron/blood , Iron/metabolism , Magnesium/blood , Magnesium/metabolism , Matrix Metalloproteinases/metabolism , Phosphorus/blood , Phosphorus/metabolism , Risk , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Selenium/blood , Selenium/metabolism , Severity of Illness Index , Trace Elements/blood , Zinc/blood , Zinc/metabolism
9.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(9)2021 Apr 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1215394

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is a highly contagious new infection caused by the single-stranded RNA Sars-CoV-2 virus. For the first time, this infection was recorded in December 2019 in the Chinese province of Wuhan. The virus presumably crossed the interspecies barrier and passed to humans from a bat. Initially, the disease was considered exclusively in the context of damage to the respiratory system, but it quickly became clear that the disease also entails serious consequences from various systems, including the cardiovascular system. Among these consequences are myocarditis, myocardial damage, subsequent heart failure, myocardial infarction, and Takotsubo syndrome. On the other hand, clinical data indicate that the presence of chronic diseases in a patient aggravates the course and outcome of coronavirus infection. In this context, the relationship between COVID-19 and atherosclerosis, a condition preceding cardiovascular disease and other disorders of the heart and blood vessels, is particularly interesting. The renin-angiotensin system is essential for the pathogenesis of both coronavirus disease and atherosclerosis. In particular, it has been shown that ACE2, an angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, plays a key role in Sars-CoV-2 infection due to its receptor activity. It is noteworthy that this enzyme is important for the normal functioning of the cardiovascular system. Disruptions in its production and functioning can lead to various disorders, including atherosclerosis.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Atherosclerosis/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Animals , Atherosclerosis/pathology , COVID-19/pathology , Humans , Renin-Angiotensin System , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
10.
Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis ; 31(1): 344-353, 2021 01 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-755567

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Cardiovascular disease is the main cause of death worldwide, but the collective efforts to prevent this pathological condition are directed exclusively to individuals at higher risk due to hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, obesity, diabetes. Recently, vitamin D deficiency was identified as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in healthy people, as it predisposes to different vascular dysfunctions that can result in plaque development and fragility. In this scenario, the fundamental aim of the study was to reproduce a disease model inducing vitamin D deficiency and atheromatosis in ApoE-/- mice and then to evaluate the impact of this vitamin D status on the onset/progression of atheromatosis, focusing on plaque formation and instability. METHODS AND RESULTS: In our murine disease model, vitamin D deficiency was achieved by 3 weeks of vitamin D deficient diet along with intraperitoneal paricalcitol injections, while atheromatosis by western-type diet administration. Under these experimental conditions, vitamin D deficient mice developed more unstable atheromatous plaques with reduced or absent fibrotic cap. Since calcium and phosphorus metabolism and also cholesterol and triglycerides systemic concentration were not affected by vitamin D level, our results highlighted the role of vitamin D deficiency in the formation/instability of atheromatous plaque and, although further studies are needed, suggested a possible intervention with vitamin D to prevent or delay the atheromatous disease. CONCLUSIONS: The data obtained open the question about the potential role of the vitamins in the pharmacological treatments of cardiovascular disorders as coadjutant of the primary drugs used for these pathologies.


Subject(s)
Aortic Diseases/etiology , Atherosclerosis/etiology , Vitamin D Deficiency/complications , Vitamin D/analogs & derivatives , Animals , Aorta/metabolism , Aorta/pathology , Aortic Diseases/blood , Aortic Diseases/pathology , Atherosclerosis/blood , Atherosclerosis/pathology , Biomarkers/blood , Diet, High-Fat , Disease Models, Animal , Fibrosis , Lipids/blood , Mice, Knockout, ApoE , Plaque, Atherosclerotic , Rupture, Spontaneous , Vitamin D/blood , Vitamin D Deficiency/blood
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