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Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets ; 21(7): 1242-1251, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1394672


Coronaviruses are a big family of viruses that can infect mammalians and birds. In humans they mainly cause respiratory tract infections, with a large spectrum of severity, from mild, self-limited infections to highly lethal forms as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Scanty data are reported for the involvement of endocrine glands in human coronaviruses, in particular SARS-CoV-2. In this review, we summarize endocrinological involvement in human coronaviruses, including data on animal coronaviruses. Avians, ferrets and bovine are affected by specific coronavirus syndromes, with variable involvement of endocrine glands. SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 use angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a target receptor, so ACE2 plays a central role in viral transmission and initial organ involvement. Autoptic studies on SARS patients revealed that thyroid, parathyroid, pituitary gland, endocrine pancreas and especially adrenals and testis could be impaired by different mechanisms (direct damage by SARS-CoV, inflammation, vascular derangement and autoimmune reactions) and few clinical studies have evidenced functional endocrine impairment. Only few data are available for COVID-19 and gonads and endocrine pancreas seem to be involved. International endocrinological societies have brought some recommendations for the COVID-19 pandemic, but further studies need to be performed, especially to detect long-term hormonal sequelae.

COVID-19/metabolism , Endocrine Glands/metabolism , Endocrine System Diseases/metabolism , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , Endocrine Glands/immunology , Endocrine System/immunology , Endocrine System/metabolism , Endocrine System Diseases/epidemiology , Endocrine System Diseases/immunology , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology
Infect Dis Poverty ; 9(1): 45, 2020 Apr 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-133403


BACKGROUND: Since its discovery in December 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has infected more than 2 180 000 people worldwide and has caused more than 150 000 deaths as of April 16, 2020. SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), uses the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a cell receptor to invade human cells. Thus, ACE2 is the key to understanding the mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 infection. This study is to investigate the ACE2 expression in various human tissues in order to provide insights into the mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 infection. METHODS: We compared ACE2 expression levels across 31 normal human tissues between males and females and between younger (ages ≤ 49 years) and older (ages > 49 years) persons using two-sided Student's t test. We also investigated the correlations between ACE2 expression and immune signatures in various tissues using Pearson's correlation test. RESULTS: ACE2 expression levels were the highest in the small intestine, testis, kidneys, heart, thyroid, and adipose tissue, and were the lowest in the blood, spleen, bone marrow, brain, blood vessels, and muscle. ACE2 showed medium expression levels in the lungs, colon, liver, bladder, and adrenal gland. ACE2 was not differentially expressed between males and females or between younger and older persons in any tissue. In the skin, digestive system, brain, and blood vessels, ACE2 expression levels were positively associated with immune signatures in both males and females. In the thyroid and lungs, ACE2 expression levels were positively and negatively associated with immune signatures in males and females, respectively, and in the lungs they had a positive and a negative correlation in the older and younger groups, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate that SARS-CoV-2 may infect other tissues aside from the lungs and infect persons with different sexes, ages, and races equally. The different host immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection may partially explain why males and females, young and old persons infected with this virus have markedly distinct disease severity. This study provides new insights into the role of ACE2 in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

Betacoronavirus , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Brain/enzymology , Cardiovascular System/enzymology , Cardiovascular System/immunology , Digestive System/enzymology , Digestive System/immunology , Endocrine Glands/enzymology , Endocrine Glands/immunology , Female , Gene Expression Profiling , Humans , Immune System/enzymology , Interferons/immunology , Lung/enzymology , Lung/immunology , Lymphocytes/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Organ Specificity , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/blood , RNA-Seq , Receptors, Coronavirus , Receptors, Virus/blood , SARS-CoV-2 , Sex Factors , Urogenital System/enzymology