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Liver Int ; 42(6): 1297-1307, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1784710


BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) causes considerable mortality worldwide. We aimed to investigate the frequency and predictive role of abnormal liver chemistries in different age groups. METHODS: Patients with positive severe acute respiratory distress syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test between 03/2020-07/2021 at the Vienna General Hospital were included. Patients were stratified for age: 18-39 vs. 40-69 vs. ≥70 years (y). Aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine-aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) and total bilirubin (BIL) were recorded. RESULTS: 900 patients (18-39 years: 32.2%, 40-69 years: 39.7%, ≥70 years: 28.1%) were included. Number of comorbidities, median D-dimer and C-reactive protein increased with age. During COVID-19, AST/ALT and ALP/GGT levels significantly increased. Elevated hepatocellular transaminases (AST/ALT) and cholestasis parameters (ALP/GGT/BIL) were observed in 40.3% (n  = 262/650) and 45.0% (n  = 287/638) of patients respectively. Liver-related mortality was highest among patients with pre-existing decompensated liver disease (28.6%, p < .001). 1.7% of patients without pre-existing liver disease died of liver-related causes, that is consequences of hepatic dysfunction or acute liver failure. Importantly, COVID-19-associated liver injury (16.0%, p < .001), abnormal liver chemistries and liver-related mortality (6.5%, p < .001) were most frequent among 40-69 years old patients. Elevated AST and BIL after the first positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR independently predicted mortality in the overall cohort and in 40-69 years old patients. CONCLUSIONS: Almost half of the COVID-19 patients exhibit abnormal hepatocellular and cholestasis-related liver chemistries with 40-69 years old patients being at particularly high risk for COVID-19-related liver injury and liver-related mortality. Elevated AST and BIL after SARS-CoV-2 infection are independent predictors of mortality, especially in patients aged 40-69 years.

COVID-19 , Cholestasis , Liver Diseases , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Alanine Transaminase , Alkaline Phosphatase , Aspartate Aminotransferases , Bilirubin/metabolism , Humans , Liver , Liver Diseases/metabolism , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult , gamma-Glutamyltransferase/metabolism
Sci Adv ; 7(22)2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388434


The coronaviral spike is the dominant viral antigen and the target of neutralizing antibodies. We show that SARS-CoV-2 spike binds biliverdin and bilirubin, the tetrapyrrole products of heme metabolism, with nanomolar affinity. Using cryo-electron microscopy and x-ray crystallography, we mapped the tetrapyrrole interaction pocket to a deep cleft on the spike N-terminal domain (NTD). At physiological concentrations, biliverdin significantly dampened the reactivity of SARS-CoV-2 spike with immune sera and inhibited a subset of neutralizing antibodies. Access to the tetrapyrrole-sensitive epitope is gated by a flexible loop on the distal face of the NTD. Accompanied by profound conformational changes in the NTD, antibody binding requires relocation of the gating loop, which folds into the cleft vacated by the metabolite. Our results indicate that SARS-CoV-2 spike NTD harbors a dominant epitope, access to which can be controlled by an allosteric mechanism that is regulated through recruitment of a metabolite.

COVID-19/immunology , Heme/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Bilirubin/metabolism , Biliverdine/metabolism , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Crystallography, X-Ray , Epitopes , Humans , Immune Sera , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity