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1.
Mayo Clin Proc ; 96(10): 2561-2575, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1521396

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To compare coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) acute kidney injury (AKI) to sepsis-AKI (S-AKI). The morphology and transcriptomic and proteomic characteristics of autopsy kidneys were analyzed. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Individuals 18 years of age and older who died from COVID-19 and had an autopsy performed at Mayo Clinic between April 2020 to October 2020 were included. Morphological evaluation of the kidneys of 17 individuals with COVID-19 was performed. In a subset of seven COVID-19 cases with postmortem interval of less than or equal to 20 hours, ultrastructural and molecular characteristics (targeted transcriptome and proteomics analyses of tubulointerstitium) were evaluated. Molecular characteristics were compared with archived cases of S-AKI and nonsepsis causes of AKI. RESULTS: The spectrum of COVID-19 renal pathology included macrophage-dominant microvascular inflammation (glomerulitis and peritubular capillaritis), vascular dysfunction (peritubular capillary congestion and endothelial injury), and tubular injury with ultrastructural evidence of mitochondrial damage. Investigation of the spatial architecture using a novel imaging mass cytometry revealed enrichment of CD3+CD4+ T cells in close proximity to antigen-presenting cells, and macrophage-enriched glomerular and interstitial infiltrates, suggesting an innate and adaptive immune tissue response. Coronavirus disease 2019 AKI and S-AKI, as compared to nonseptic AKI, had an enrichment of transcriptional pathways involved in inflammation (apoptosis, autophagy, major histocompatibility complex class I and II, and type 1 T helper cell differentiation). Proteomic pathway analysis showed that COVID-19 AKI and to a lesser extent S-AKI were enriched in necroptosis and sirtuin-signaling pathways, both involved in regulatory response to inflammation. Upregulation of the ceramide-signaling pathway and downregulation of oxidative phosphorylation in COVID-19 AKI were noted. CONCLUSION: This data highlights the similarities between S-AKI and COVID-19 AKI and suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction may play a pivotal role in COVID-19 AKI. This data may allow the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic targets.


Subject(s)
Acute Kidney Injury/pathology , COVID-19/pathology , Kidney/pathology , Sepsis/pathology , Acute Kidney Injury/virology , Adult , Autopsy , Humans , Kidney Tubules, Proximal/pathology , Male , Middle Aged , Sepsis/virology
2.
J Gen Intern Med ; 36(11): 3522-3529, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1525598

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Improving accuracy of identification of COVID-19-related deaths is essential to public health surveillance and research. The verbal autopsy, an established strategy involving an interview with a decedent's caregiver or witness using a semi-structured questionnaire, may improve accurate counting of COVID-19-related deaths. OBJECTIVE: To develop and pilot-test the Verbal Autopsy Instrument for COVID-19 (VAIC) and a death adjudication protocol using it. METHODS/KEY RESULTS: We used a multi-step process to design the VAIC and a protocol for its use. We developed a preliminary version of a verbal autopsy instrument specifically for COVID. We then pilot-tested this instrument by interviewing respondents about the deaths of 15 adults aged ≥65 during the initial COVID-19 surge in New York City. We modified it after the first 5 interviews. We then reviewed the VAIC and clinical information for the 15 deaths and developed a death adjudication process/algorithm to determine whether the underlying cause of death was definitely (40% of these pilot cases), probably (33%), possibly (13%), or unlikely/definitely not (13%) COVID-19-related. We noted differences between the adjudicated cause of death and a death certificate. CONCLUSIONS: The VAIC and a death adjudication protocol using it may improve accuracy in identifying COVID-19-related deaths.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Autopsy , Cause of Death , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
3.
Front Immunol ; 12: 736529, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1515533

ABSTRACT

Various authors have hypothesized carotid body (CB) involvement in Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), through direct invasion or indirect effects by systemic stimuli ('cytokine storm', angiotensin-converting enzyme [ACE]1/ACE2 imbalance). However, empirical evidence is limited or partial. Here, we present an integrated histopathological and virological analysis of CBs sampled at autopsy from four subjects (2 males and 2 females; age: >70 years old) who died of COVID-19. Histopathological, immunohistochemical and molecular investigation techniques were employed to characterize Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome - Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) viral invasion and inflammatory reaction. SARS-CoV2 RNA was detected in the CBs of three cases through Real-Time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR). In these cases, positive immunostaining for Nucleocapsid and Spike protein were also demonstrated, mainly at the level of large roundish cells consistent with type I cells, confirming direct CB invasion. In these cases, T lymphocytes showed focal aggregations in the CBs, suggestive of local inflammatory reaction. Blood congestion and microthrombosis were also found in one of the positive cases. Intriguingly, microthrombosis, blood congestion and microhaemorrages were also bilaterally detected in the CBs of the negative case, supporting the possibility of COVID-19 effects on the CB even in the absence of its direct invasion. SARS-CoV-2 direct invasion of the CB is confirmed through both immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR, with likely involvement of different cell types. We also reported histopathological findings which could be ascribed to local and/or systemic actions of SARS-CoV-2 and which could potentially affect chemoreception.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Carotid Body , SARS-CoV-2 , Aged , Autopsy , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Carotid Body/pathology , Carotid Body/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Female , Humans , Male , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
4.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(21)2021 Nov 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1502441

ABSTRACT

On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic due to the spread of COVID-19 from Wuhan, China, causing high mortality rates all over the world. The related disease, which mainly affects the lungs, is responsible for the onset of Diffuse Alveolar Damage (DAD) and a hypercoagulability state, frequently leading to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and multiorgan failure, particularly in old and severe-critically ill patients. In order to find effective therapeutic strategies, many efforts have been made aiming to shed light on the pathophysiology of COVID-19 disease. Moreover, following the late advent of vaccination campaigns, the need for the comprehension of the pathophysiology of the fatal, although rare, thrombotic adverse events has become mandatory as well. The achievement of such purposes needs a multidisciplinary approach, depending on a correct interpretation of clinical, biochemical, biomolecular, and forensic findings. In this scenario, autopsies have helped in defining, on both gross and histologic examinations, the main changes to which the affected organs undergo and the role in assessing whether a patient is dead "from" or "with" COVID-19, not to mention whether the existence of a causal link exists between vaccination and thrombotic adverse events. In the present work, we explored the role of postmortem immunohistochemistry, and the increasingly used ancillary technique, in helping to understand the mechanism underlying the pathophysiology of both COVID-19 disease and COVID-19 vaccine-related adverse and rare effects.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , COVID-19/pathology , Thrombosis/etiology , Autopsy , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Cytokines/metabolism , Endothelium/metabolism , Endothelium/pathology , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
5.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 21284, 2021 10 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493215

ABSTRACT

We quantified the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the air of different hospital settings and the autopsy room of the largest medical centre in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Real-time reverse-transcription PCR was used to determine the presence of the envelope protein of SARS-CoV-2 and the nucleocapsid protein genes. The E-gene was detected in 5 out of 6 samples at the ICU-COVID-19 ward and in 5 out of 7 samples at the ward-COVID-19. Similarly, in the non-dedicated facilities, the E-gene was detected in 5 out of 6 samples collected in the ICU and 4 out of 7 samples in the ward. In the necropsy room, 6 out of 7 samples were positive for the E-gene. When both wards were compared, the non-COVID ward presented a significantly higher concentration of the E-gene than in the COVID-19 ward (p = 0.003). There was no significant difference in E-gene concentration between the ICU-COVID-19 and the ICU (p = 0.548). Likewise, there was no significant difference among E-gene concentrations found in the autopsy room versus the ICUs and wards (dedicated or not) (p = 0.245). Our results show the widespread presence of aerosol contamination in different hospital units.


Subject(s)
Air Microbiology , COVID-19/virology , Hospitals , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Aerosols , Autopsy , Brazil/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Genome, Viral , Hospital Units , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Pandemics , Pathology Department, Hospital , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/genetics , Virion/genetics , Virion/isolation & purification
7.
Front Immunol ; 12: 735922, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1477823

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a major public health issue. COVID-19 is considered an airway/multi-systemic disease, and demise has been associated with an uncontrolled immune response and a cytokine storm in response to the virus. However, the lung pathology, immune response, and tissue damage associated with COVID-19 demise are poorly described and understood due to safety concerns. Using post-mortem lung tissues from uninfected and COVID-19 deadly cases as well as an unbiased combined analysis of histology, multi-viral and host markers staining, correlative microscopy, confocal, and image analysis, we identified three distinct phenotypes of COVID-19-induced lung damage. First, a COVID-19-induced hemorrhage characterized by minimal immune infiltration and large thrombus; Second, a COVID-19-induced immune infiltration with excessive immune cell infiltration but no hemorrhagic events. The third phenotype correspond to the combination of the two previous ones. We observed the loss of alveolar wall integrity, detachment of lung tissue pieces, fibroblast proliferation, and extensive fibrosis in all three phenotypes. Although lung tissues studied were from lethal COVID-19, a strong immune response was observed in all cases analyzed with significant B cell and poor T cell infiltrations, suggesting an exhausted or compromised immune cellular response in these patients. Overall, our data show that SARS-CoV-2-induced lung damage is highly heterogeneous. These individual differences need to be considered to understand the acute and long-term COVID-19 consequences.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/pathology , Lung Injury/pathology , Pulmonary Alveoli/pathology , Pulmonary Fibrosis/pathology , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Autopsy , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/mortality , Cytokine Release Syndrome/pathology , Epithelial Cells/pathology , Female , Hemorrhage/pathology , Humans , Inflammation/pathology , Lung/pathology , Lung Injury/virology , Lymphopenia/pathology , Macrophage Activation/immunology , Macrophages/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Myocytes, Smooth Muscle/pathology , Neutrophils/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Thrombosis/pathology
8.
J Korean Med Sci ; 36(40): e286, 2021 Oct 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1477789

ABSTRACT

We present autopsy findings of a 22-year-old man who developed chest pain 5 days after the first dose of the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine and died 7 hours later. Histological examination of the heart revealed isolated atrial myocarditis, with neutrophil and histiocyte predominance. Immunohistochemical C4d staining revealed scattered single-cell necrosis of myocytes which was not accompanied by inflammatory infiltrates. Extensive contraction band necrosis was observed in the atria and ventricles. There was no evidence of microthrombosis or infection in the heart and other organs. The primary cause of death was determined to be myocarditis, causally-associated with the BNT162b2 vaccine.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Death, Sudden/etiology , Myocarditis/complications , Vaccination/adverse effects , Adult , Autopsy , Death, Sudden/pathology , Humans , Male , Myocarditis/pathology , Myocardium/pathology
9.
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci ; 25(19): 5904-5912, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1478932

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Liver injury has been reported in patients with COVID-19. This condition is characterized by severe outcome and could be related with the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to activate cytotoxic T cells. The purpose of this study is to show the histological and scanning electron microscopy features of liver involvement in COVID-19 to characterize the liver changes caused by the activation of multiple molecular pathways following this infection. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Liver biopsies from 4 patients (3 post-mortems and 1 in vivo) with COVID-19 were analyzed with histology and by scanning electron microscopy. RESULTS: The liver changes showed significant heterogeneity. The first case showed ground glass hepatocytes and scattered fibrin aggregates in the sinusoidal lumen. The second evidenced intra-sinusoidal thrombi. The third was characterized by sinusoidal dilatation, atrophy of hepatocytes, Disse's spaces dilatation and intra-sinusoidal aggregates of fibrin and red blood cells. The fourth case exhibited diffuse fibrin aggregates in the dilated Disse spaces and microthrombi in the sinusoidal lumen. CONCLUSIONS: In COVID-19-related liver injury, a large spectrum of pathological changes was observed. The most peculiar features were very mild inflammation, intra-sinusoidal changes, including sinusoidal dilatation, thrombotic sinusoiditis and diffuse intra-sinusoidal fibrin deposition. These findings suggested that a thrombotic sinusoiditis followed by a local diffuse intra-vascular (intra-sinusoidal) coagulation could be the typical features of the SARS-CoV-2-related liver injury.


Subject(s)
Blood Coagulation Disorders/pathology , COVID-19/pathology , Liver Diseases/pathology , Liver/pathology , Thrombosis/pathology , Aged , Autopsy , Biopsy , Erythrocytes/pathology , Fibrin , Hepatocytes/pathology , Humans , Male , Microscopy, Electron, Scanning , Middle Aged , Thrombosis/complications , Young Adult
10.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 19342, 2021 09 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1442803

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has become a global pandemic with significant mortality. Accurate information on the specific circumstances of death and whether patients died from or with SARS-CoV-2 is scarce. To distinguish COVID-19 from non-COVID-19 deaths, we performed a systematic review of 735 SARS-CoV-2-associated deaths in Hamburg, Germany, from March to December 2020, using conventional autopsy, ultrasound-guided minimally invasive autopsy, postmortem computed tomography and medical records. Statistical analyses including multiple logistic regression were used to compare both cohorts. 84.1% (n = 618) were classified as COVID-19 deaths, 6.4% (n = 47) as non-COVID-19 deaths, 9.5% (n = 70) remained unclear. Median age of COVID-19 deaths was 83.0 years, 54.4% were male. In the autopsy group (n = 283), the majority died of pneumonia and/or diffuse alveolar damage (73.6%; n = 187). Thromboses were found in 39.2% (n = 62/158 cases), pulmonary embolism in 22.1% (n = 56/253 cases). In 2020, annual mortality in Hamburg was about 5.5% higher than in the previous 20 years, of which 3.4% (n = 618) represented COVID-19 deaths. Our study highlights the need for mortality surveillance and postmortem examinations. The vast majority of individuals who died directly from SARS-CoV-2 infection were of advanced age and had multiple comorbidities.


Subject(s)
Autopsy , COVID-19 , Comorbidity , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/pathology , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/virology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Lung/pathology , Male , Middle Aged , Mortality , Pneumonia , Prospective Studies , Pulmonary Embolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Thrombosis
11.
Int J Legal Med ; 135(6): 2335-2345, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1442101

ABSTRACT

Thorough postmortem investigations of fatalities following vaccination with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines are of great social significance. From 11.03.2021 to 09.06.2021, postmortem investigations of 18 deceased persons who recently received a vaccination against COVID-19 were performed. Vaxzevria was vaccinated in nine, Comirnaty in five, Spikevax in three, and Janssen in one person. In all cases, full autopsies, histopathological examinations, and virological analyses for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 were carried out. Depending on the case, additional laboratory tests (anaphylaxis diagnostics, VITT [vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia] diagnostics, glucose metabolism diagnostics) and neuropathological examinations were conducted. In 13 deceased, the cause of death was attributed to preexisting diseases while postmortem investigations did not indicate a causal relationship to the vaccination. In one case after vaccination with Comirnaty, myocarditis was found to be the cause of death. A causal relationship to vaccination was considered possible, but could not be proven beyond doubt. VITT was found in three deceased persons following vaccination with Vaxzevria and one deceased following vaccination with Janssen. Of those four cases with VITT, only one was diagnosed before death. The synopsis of the anamnestic data, the autopsy results, laboratory diagnostic examinations, and histopathological and neuropathological examinations revealed that VITT was the very likely cause of death in only two of the four cases. In the other two cases, no neuropathological correlate of VITT explaining death was found, while possible causes of death emerged that were not necessarily attributable to VITT. The results of our study demonstrate the necessity of postmortem investigations on all fatalities following vaccination with COVID-19 vaccines. In order to identify a possible causal relationship between vaccination and death, in most cases an autopsy and histopathological examinations have to be combined with additional investigations, such as laboratory tests and neuropathological examinations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , Forensic Medicine , Vaccination/adverse effects , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Anaphylaxis/mortality , Autopsy , Causality , Cause of Death , Female , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Myocarditis/mortality , Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic/mortality
13.
Ghana Med J ; 54(4 Suppl): 52-61, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1436195

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Since the declaration of COVID-19 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a global pandemic on 11th March 2020, the number of deaths continue to increase worldwide. Reports on its pathologic manifestations have been published with very few from the Sub-Saharan African region. This article reports autopsies on COVID-19 patients from the Ga-East and the 37 Military Hospitals to provide pathological evidence for better understanding of COVID-19 in Ghana. Methods: Under conditions required for carrying out autopsies on bodies infected with category three infectious agents, with few modifications, complete autopsies were performed on twenty patients with ante-mortem and/or postmortem RT -PCR confirmed positive COVID-19 results, between April and June, 2020. Results: There were equal proportion of males and females. Thirteen (65%) of the patients were 55years or older with the same percentage (65%) having Type II diabetes and/or hypertension. The most significant pathological feature found at autopsy was diffuse alveolar damage. Seventy per cent (14/20) had associated thromboemboli in the lungs, kidneys and the heart. Forty per cent (6/15) of the patients that had negative results for COVID-19 by the nasopharyngeal swab test before death had positive results during postmortem using bronchopulmonary specimen. At autopsy all patients were identified to have pre-existing medical conditions. Conclusion: Diffuse alveolar damage was a key pathological feature of deaths caused by COVID-19 in all cases studied with hypertension and diabetes mellitus being major risk factors. Individuals without co-morbidities were less likely to die or suffer severe disease from SARS-CoV-2. Funding: None declared.


Subject(s)
Autopsy/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/pathology , Hospitals, Military/statistics & numerical data , Hospitals, Municipal/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19 Testing/statistics & numerical data , Comorbidity , Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/mortality , Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/virology , Female , Ghana/epidemiology , Humans , Hypertension/mortality , Hypertension/virology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , Middle Aged , Pulmonary Alveoli/pathology , Pulmonary Alveoli/virology , Risk Factors
14.
BMJ Open Respir Res ; 8(1)2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1430195

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The diaphragm is the main muscle of inspiration, and its dysfunction contributes to adverse clinical outcomes in critically ill patients. We recently reported the infiltration of SARS-CoV-2, and the development of fibrosis, in the diaphragm of critically ill patients with COVID-19. In the current study, we aimed to characterise myofiber structure in the diaphragm of critically ill patients with COVID-19. METHODS: Diaphragm muscle specimens were collected during autopsy from patients who died of COVID-19 in three academic medical centres in the Netherlands in April and May 2020 (n=27). We studied diaphragm myofiber gene expression and structure and compared the findings obtained to those of deceased critically ill patients without COVID-19 (n=10). RESULTS: Myofibers of critically ill patients with COVID-19 showed on average larger cross-sectional area (slow-twitch myofibers: 2441±229 vs 1571±309 µm2; fast-twitch myofibers: 1966±209 vs 1225±222 µm2). Four critically ill patients with COVID-19 showed extremely large myofibers, which were splitting and contained many centralised nuclei. RNA-sequencing data revealed differentially expressed genes involved in muscle regeneration. CONCLUSION: Diaphragm of critically ill patients with COVID-19 has distinct myopathic features compared with critically ill patients without COVID-19, which may contribute to the ongoing dyspnoea and fatigue in the patients surviving COVID-19 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Critical Illness , Diaphragm/pathology , Aged , Autopsy , COVID-19/pathology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Muscle Fibers, Skeletal/pathology , Netherlands
15.
Pathol Res Pract ; 227: 153610, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1401790

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019(COVID-19) is recognized as systemic inflammatory response syndrome. It was demonstrated that a rapid increase of cytokines in the serum of COVID-19 patients is associated with the severity of disease. However, the mechanisms of the cytokine release are not clear. By using immunofluorescence staining we found that the number of CD11b positive immune cells including macrophages in the spleens of died COVID-19 patients, was significantly higher than that of the control patients. The incidence of apoptosis as measured by two apoptotic markers, TUNEL and cleaved caspase-3, in COVID-19 patients' spleen cells is higher than that in control patients. By double immunostaining CD11b or CD68 and SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, it was found that up to 67% of these immune cells were positive for spike protein, suggesting that viral infection might be associated with apoptosis in these cells. Besides, we also stained the autophagy-related molecules (p-Akt、p62 and BCL-2) in spleen tissues, the results showed that the number of positive cells was significantly higher in COVID-19 group. And compared with non-COVID-19 patients, autophagy may be inhibited in COVID-19 patients. Our research suggest that SARS-CoV-2 may result in a higher rate of apoptosis and a lower rate of autophagy of immune cells in the spleen of COVID-19 patients. These discoveries may increase our understanding of the pathogenesis of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Apoptosis , Autophagy , COVID-19/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spleen/pathology , Antigens, CD/analysis , Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic/analysis , Autopsy , Biomarkers/analysis , CD11b Antigen/analysis , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/virology , Case-Control Studies , Caspase 3/analysis , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , In Situ Nick-End Labeling , Phosphorylation , Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt/analysis , Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sequestosome-1 Protein/analysis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/analysis , Spleen/immunology , Spleen/virology
16.
Geroscience ; 43(5): 2265-2287, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1401069

ABSTRACT

From March through December 2020, 100 autopsies were performed (Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary), with chart review, of patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection demonstrated by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction testing (mean age, 74.73 years, range 40-102 years; 50 males, mean age 71.96 years, and 50 females, mean age 77.5 years). Classified by the date of death, 21 cases were from the pandemic's "first wave" (March through July) and 79 from the "second wave" (August through December). Three mortality categories were defined by relevance of SARS-CoV-2 infection: (1) "strong" association (n=57), in which COVID-19 was primary responsible for death; (2) "contributive" association (n=27), in which a pre-existing condition independent of COVID-19 was primary responsible for death, albeit with substantial COVID-19 co-morbidity; (3) "weak" association (n=16), in which COVID-19 was minimally or not at all responsible for death. Distributions among categories differed between the first wave, in which the "contributive" association cases dominated (strong: 24%, contributive: 48%, weak: 28%), and the second wave, in which the "strong" association cases dominated (strong: 66%, contributive: 21%, weak: 13%). Charted co-morbidities included hypertension (85 %), cardiovascular diseases (71 %), diabetes (40 %), cerebrovascular diseases (31 %), chronic respiratory diseases (30 %), malignant tumors (20 %), renal diseases (19 %), diseases of the central nervous system (15 %), and liver diseases (6 %). Autopsy evaluation analyzed alterations on macroscopy as well as findings on microscopy of scanned and scored sections of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue samples (50-80 blocks/case). Severity of histological abnormalities in the lung differed significantly between "strong" and "contributive" (p<0.0001) and between "strong" and "weak" categories (p<0.0001). Abnormalities included diffuse alveolar damage, macrophage infiltration, and vascular and alveolar fibrin aggregates (lung), with macro- and microvascular thrombi and thromboemboli (lung, kidney, liver). In conclusion, autopsies clarified in what extent COVID-19 was responsible for death, demonstrated the pathological background of clinical signs and symptoms, and identified organ alterations that led to the death. Clinicopathologic correlation, with conference discussions of severity of co-morbidities and of direct pathological signs of disease, permitted accurate categorization of cause of death and COVID-19 association as "strong," "contributive," or "weak." Lung involvement, with reduced ventilatory capacity, was the primary cause of death in the "strong" and "contributive" categories. Shifts in distribution among categories, with "strong" association between COVID-19 and death dominating in the second wave, may reflect improved clinical management of COVID-19 as expertise grew.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Autopsy , Cause of Death , Female , Humans , Lung , Male , SARS-CoV-2
17.
Int J Legal Med ; 135(6): 2347-2349, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1391863

ABSTRACT

Due to the development of novel functionalities, distinct SARS-CoV-2 variants such as B.1.1.7 fuel the current pandemic. B.1.1.7 is not only more transmissible, but may also cause an increased mortality compared to previous SARS-CoV-2 variants. Human tissue analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 is urgently needed, and we here present autopsy data from 7 consecutive SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 cases. The initial RT-qPCR analyses from nasopharyngeal swabs taken post mortem included typing assays for B.1.1.7. We quantitated SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 viral load in autopsy tissue of multiple organs. Highest levels of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 copies normalized to ß-globin were detected in the respiratory system (lung and pharynx), followed by the liver and heart. Importantly, SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 was found in 100% of cases in the lungs and in 85.7% in pharynx tissue. Detection also in the kidney and brain highlighting a pronounced organ tropism. Comparison of the given results to a former cohort of SARS-CoV-2 deaths during the first wave in spring 2020 showed resembling organ tropism. Our results indicate that also SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 has a relevant organ tropism beyond the respiratory tract. We speculate that B.1.1.7 spike protein's affinity to human ACE2 facilitates transmission, organ tropism, and ultimately morbidity and mortality. Further studies and larger cohorts are obligatory to proof this link.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Load , Viral Tropism , Aged , Autopsy , Female , Heart/virology , Humans , Kidney/virology , Liver/virology , Lung/virology , Male , Middle Aged , Pharynx/virology
18.
Intensive Care Med ; 47(11): 1322-1325, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1391840
19.
Cells ; 10(9)2021 08 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1390541

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 presents with a wide range of clinical neurological manifestations. It has been recognized that SARS-CoV-2 infection affects both the central and peripheral nervous system, leading to smell and taste disturbances; acute ischemic and hemorrhagic cerebrovascular disease; encephalopathies and seizures; and causes most surviving patients to have long lasting neurological symptoms. Despite this, typical neuropathological features associated with the infection have still not been identified. Studies of post-mortem examinations of the cerebral cortex are obtained with difficulty due to laboratory safety concerns. In addition, they represent cases with different neurological symptoms, age or comorbidities, thus a larger number of brain autoptic data from multiple institutions would be crucial. Histopathological findings described here are aimed to increase the current knowledge on neuropathology of COVID-19 patients. We report post-mortem neuropathological findings of ten COVID-19 patients. A wide range of neuropathological lesions were seen. The cerebral cortex of all patients showed vascular changes, hyperemia of the meninges and perivascular inflammation in the cerebral parenchyma with hypoxic neuronal injury. Perivascular lymphocytic inflammation of predominantly CD8-positive T cells mixed with CD68-positive macrophages, targeting the disrupted vascular wall in the cerebral cortex, cerebellum and pons were seen. Our findings support recent reports highlighting a role of microvascular injury in COVID-19 neurological manifestations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Cerebral Cortex/pathology , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Autopsy , Brain/pathology , Brain/virology , Brain Diseases/pathology , Brain Diseases/virology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/pathology , Cerebral Cortex/virology , Female , Humans , Inflammation , Macrophages/pathology , Male , Microvessels/pathology , Microvessels/virology , Middle Aged , Nervous System Diseases/pathology , Nervous System Diseases/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
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