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J Endocrinol Invest ; 45(1): 209-214, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1287473


PURPOSE: The SARS-CoV-2 genome has been detected in a variety of human samples including blood, urine, semen, and faeces. However, evidence of virus presence in tissues other than lung are limited. METHODS: We investigated whether SARS-CoV-2 could be detected in 50 autoptic specimens of endocrine organs from 29 patients who died of COVID-19. RESULTS: The virus was detected in 25 specimens including ten abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue samples (62%), six testes (67%), and nine thyroid (36%) samples. The analysis of multiple endocrine organ samples obtained from the same patients showed that, in virus-positive cases, the viral genome was consistently detected in all but two matched specimens. CONCLUSION: Our findings show that the virus spread into endocrine organs is a common event in severe cases. Further studies should assess the rate of the phenomenon in clinically mild cases. The potential long-term effects of COVID-19 on endocrine functions should be taken into consideration.

COVID-19/virology , Endocrine Glands/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Abdominal Fat/virology , Adult , Autopsy , COVID-19/epidemiology , Comorbidity , Female , Humans , Lung/virology , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Subcutaneous Fat/virology , Testis/virology , Thyroid Gland/virology
J Endocrinol Invest ; 44(8): 1553-1570, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1083410


BACKGROUND: A new harmful respiratory disease, called COVID-19 emerged in China in December 2019 due to the infection of a novel coronavirus, called SARS-Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which belongs to the betacoronavirus genus, including SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV. SARS-CoV-2 shares almost 80% of the genome with SARS-CoV-1 and 50% with MERS-CoV. Moreover, SARS-CoV-2 proteins share a high degree of homology (approximately 95%) with SARS-CoV-1 proteins. Hence, the mechanisms of SARS-Cov-1 and SARS-Cov-2 infection are similar and occur via binding to ACE2 protein, which is widely distributed in the human body, with a predominant expression in endocrine tissues including testis, thyroid, adrenal and pituitary. PURPOSE: On the basis of expression pattern of the ACE2 protein among different tissues, similarity between SARS-Cov-1 and SARS-Cov-2 and the pathophysiology of COVID-19 disease, we aimed at discussing, after almost one-year pandemic, about the relationships between COVID-19 infection and the endocrine system. First, we discussed the potential effect of hormones on the susceptibility to COVID-19 infection; second, we examined the evidences regarding the effect of COVID-19 on the endocrine system. When data were available, a comparative discussion between SARS and COVID-19 effects was also performed. METHODS: A comprehensive literature search within Pubmed was performed. This review has been conducted according to the PRISMA statements. RESULTS: Among 450, 100 articles were selected. Tissue and vascular damages have been shown on thyroid, adrenal, testis and pituitary glands, with multiple alterations of endocrine function. CONCLUSION: Hormones may affect patient susceptibility to COVID-19 infection but evidences regarding therapeutic implication of these findings are still missing. SARS and COVID-19 may affect endocrine glands and their dense vascularization, impairing endocrine system function. A possible damage of endocrine system in COVID-19 patients should be investigated in both COVID-19 acute phase and recovery to identify both early and late endocrine complications that may be important for patient's prognosis and well-being after COVID-19 infection.

Betacoronavirus/physiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Endocrine Glands/physiology , Endocrine Glands/virology , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/physiopathology , Disease Susceptibility , Endocrine System Diseases/epidemiology , Endocrine System Diseases/virology , Hormones/physiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
Endocrine ; 68(3): 467-470, 2020 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-459439


The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is centralizing the interest of the scientific world. In the next months, long-term consequences on the endocrine system may arise following COVID-19. In this article, we hypothesized the effects of SARS-CoV-2 taking into account what learned from the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) that caused SARS in 2003.

Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Endocrine Glands/virology , Endocrine System Diseases/metabolism , Endocrine System Diseases/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/complications , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Female , Humans , Male , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2