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JCI Insight ; 6(14)2021 07 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1320462


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.

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
Histopathology ; 77(2): 198-209, 2020 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-889739


AIMS: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has rapidly evolved into a sweeping pandemic. Its major manifestation is in the respiratory tract, and the general extent of organ involvement and the microscopic changes in the lungs remain insufficiently characterised. Autopsies are essential to elucidate COVID-19-associated organ alterations. METHODS AND RESULTS: This article reports the autopsy findings of 21 COVID-19 patients hospitalised at the University Hospital Basel and at the Cantonal Hospital Baselland, Switzerland. An in-corpore technique was performed to ensure optimal staff safety. The primary cause of death was respiratory failure with exudative diffuse alveolar damage and massive capillary congestion, often accompanied by microthrombi despite anticoagulation. Ten cases showed superimposed bronchopneumonia. Further findings included pulmonary embolism (n = 4), alveolar haemorrhage (n = 3), and vasculitis (n = 1). Pathologies in other organ systems were predominantly attributable to shock; three patients showed signs of generalised and five of pulmonary thrombotic microangiopathy. Six patients were diagnosed with senile cardiac amyloidosis upon autopsy. Most patients suffered from one or more comorbidities (hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes mellitus). Additionally, there was an overall predominance of males and individuals with blood group A (81% and 65%, respectively). All relevant histological slides are linked as open-source scans in supplementary files. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides an overview of postmortem findings in COVID-19 cases, implying that hypertensive, elderly, obese, male individuals with severe cardiovascular comorbidities as well as those with blood group A may have a lower threshold of tolerance for COVID-19. This provides a pathophysiological explanation for higher mortality rates among these patients.

COVID-19/pathology , Capillaries/pathology , Vascular Diseases/pathology , Vascular Diseases/virology , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Autopsy , Capillaries/virology , Female , Humans , Lung/pathology , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2