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Laryngoscope ; 131(6): E2013-E2017, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-969763


OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: Intracellular entry of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) depends on the interaction between its spike protein with the cellular receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and depends on Furin-mediated spike protein cleavage and spike protein priming by host cell proteases, including transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2). As the expression of ACE2, TMPRSS2, and Furin in the middle and inner ear remain unclear, we analyzed the expression of these proteins in mouse ear tissues. STUDY DESIGN: Animal Research. METHODS: We performed immunohistochemical analysis to examine the distribution of ACE2, TMPRSS2, and Furin in the Eustachian tube, middle ear spaces, and cochlea of mice. RESULTS: ACE2 was present in the nucleus of the epithelium of the middle ear and Eustachian tube, as well as in some nuclei of the hair cells in the organ of Corti, in the stria vascularis, and the spiral ganglion cells. ACE2 was also expressed in the cytoplasm of the stria vascularis. TMPRSS2 was expressed in both the nucleus and cytoplasm in the middle spaces, with the expression being stronger in the nucleus in the mucosal epithelium of the middle ear spaces and Eustachian tube. TMPRSS2 was present in the cytoplasm in the organ of Corti and stria vascularis and in the nucleus and cytoplasm in the spiral ganglion. Furin was expressed in the cytoplasm in the middle ear spaces, Eustachian tube, and cochlea. CONCLUSIONS: ACE2, TMPRSS2, and Furin are diffusely present in the Eustachian tube, middle ear spaces, and cochlea, suggesting that these tissues are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: NA Laryngoscope, 131:E2013-E2017, 2021.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/pathology , Ear, Inner/pathology , Ear, Middle/pathology , Eustachian Tube/pathology , Furin/genetics , Gene Expression/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Animals , Cochlea/pathology , Epithelium/pathology , Immunohistochemistry , Mice , Mucous Membrane/pathology , Organ of Corti/pathology , Spiral Ganglion/pathology , Stria Vascularis/pathology , Temporal Bone/pathology