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1.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 965, 2022 01 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1638855

ABSTRACT

Hospitalized patients who die from Covid-19 often have pre-existing heart disease. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is dependent on the ACE2 receptor to be able to infect cells. It is possible that the strong link between cardiovascular comorbidities and a poor outcome following a SARS-CoV-2 infection is sometimes due to viral myocarditis. The aim was to examine the expression of ACE2 in normal hearts and hearts from patients with terminal heart failure. The ACE2 expression was measured by global quantitative proteomics and RT-qPCR in left ventricular (LV) tissue from explanted hearts. Immunohistochemistry was used to examine ACE2 expression in cardiomyocytes, fibroblasts and endothelial cells. In total, tissue from 14 organ donors and 11 patients with terminal heart failure were included. ACE2 expression was 2.6 times higher in 4 hearts from patients with terminal heart failure compared with 6 healthy donor hearts. The results were confirmed by immunohistochemistry where more than half of cardiomyocytes or fibroblasts showed expression of ACE2 in hearts from patients with terminal heart failure. In healthy donor hearts ACE2 was not expressed or found in few fibroblasts. A small subpopulation of endothelial cells expressed ACE2 in both groups. Upregulated ACE2 expression in cardiomyocytes may increase the risk of SARS-CoV-2 myocarditis in patients with heart failure.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Fibroblasts/pathology , Heart Failure/pathology , Myocytes, Cardiac/pathology , Tissue Donors/supply & distribution , Adult , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Case-Control Studies , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Female , Fibroblasts/metabolism , Heart Failure/genetics , Heart Failure/metabolism , Heart Failure/therapy , Heart Transplantation/methods , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Myocytes, Cardiac/metabolism , Young Adult
2.
Nature ; 603(7899): 145-151, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1631700

ABSTRACT

COVID-19, which is caused by infection with SARS-CoV-2, is characterized by lung pathology and extrapulmonary complications1,2. Type I interferons (IFNs) have an essential role in the pathogenesis of COVID-19 (refs 3-5). Although rapid induction of type I IFNs limits virus propagation, a sustained increase in the levels of type I IFNs in the late phase of the infection is associated with aberrant inflammation and poor clinical outcome5-17. Here we show that the cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS)-stimulator of interferon genes (STING) pathway, which controls immunity to cytosolic DNA, is a critical driver of aberrant type I IFN responses in COVID-19 (ref. 18). Profiling COVID-19 skin manifestations, we uncover a STING-dependent type I IFN signature that is primarily mediated by macrophages adjacent to areas of endothelial cell damage. Moreover, cGAS-STING activity was detected in lung samples from patients with COVID-19 with prominent tissue destruction, and was associated with type I IFN responses. A lung-on-chip model revealed that, in addition to macrophages, infection with SARS-CoV-2 activates cGAS-STING signalling in endothelial cells through mitochondrial DNA release, which leads to cell death and type I IFN production. In mice, pharmacological inhibition of STING reduces severe lung inflammation induced by SARS-CoV-2 and improves disease outcome. Collectively, our study establishes a mechanistic basis of pathological type I IFN responses in COVID-19 and reveals a principle for the development of host-directed therapeutics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Interferon Type I/immunology , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , Nucleotidyltransferases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cells, Cultured , DNA, Mitochondrial/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Disease Progression , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Female , Gene Expression Regulation/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Lung/immunology , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Macrophages/immunology , Membrane Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Pneumonia/immunology , Pneumonia/metabolism , Pneumonia/pathology , Pneumonia/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Signal Transduction , Skin/immunology , Skin/metabolism , Skin/pathology
3.
Biochem Pharmacol ; 197: 114909, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1616378

ABSTRACT

Vascular endothelial cells are major participants in and regulators of immune responses and inflammation. Vascular endotheliitis is regarded as a host immune-inflammatory response of the endothelium forming the inner surface of blood vessels in association with a direct consequence of infectious pathogen invasion. Vascular endotheliitis and consequent endothelial dysfunction can be a principle determinant of microvascular failure, which would favor impaired perfusion, tissue hypoxia, and subsequent organ failure. Emerging evidence suggests the role of vascular endotheliitis in the pathogenesis of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its related complications. Thus, once initiated, vascular endotheliitis and resultant cytokine storm cause systemic hyperinflammation and a thrombotic phenomenon in COVID-19, leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome and widespread organ damage. Vascular endotheliitis also appears to be a contributory factor to vasculopathy and coagulopathy in sepsis that is defined as life-threatening organ dysfunction due to a dysregulated response of the host to infection. Therefore, protecting endothelial cells and reversing vascular endotheliitis may be a leading therapeutic goal for these diseases associated with vascular endotheliitis. In this review, we outline the etiological and pathogenic importance of vascular endotheliitis in infection-related inflammatory diseases, including COVID-19, and possible mechanisms leading to vascular endotheliitis. We also discuss pharmacological agents which may be now considered as potential endotheliitis-based treatment modalities for those diseases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Endothelium, Vascular/pathology , Vascular Diseases/pathology , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/immunology , Endothelial Cells/drug effects , Endothelial Cells/immunology , Endothelium, Vascular/drug effects , Endothelium, Vascular/immunology , Glucocorticoids/pharmacology , Glucocorticoids/therapeutic use , Humans , Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors/pharmacology , Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sepsis/drug therapy , Sepsis/etiology , Sepsis/immunology , Sepsis/pathology , Vascular Diseases/drug therapy , Vascular Diseases/etiology , Vascular Diseases/immunology
4.
Br J Haematol ; 196(5): 1159-1169, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1583669

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 has compelled scientists to better describe its pathophysiology to find new therapeutic approaches. While risk factors, such as older age, obesity, and diabetes mellitus, suggest a central role of endothelial cells (ECs), autopsies have revealed clots in the pulmonary microvasculature that are rich in neutrophils and DNA traps produced by these cells, called neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs.) Submicron extracellular vesicles, called microparticles (MPs), are described in several diseases as being involved in pro-inflammatory pathways. Therefore, in this study, we analyzed three patient groups: one for which intubation was not necessary, an intubated group, and one group after extubation. In the most severe group, the intubated group, platelet-derived MPs and endothelial cell (EC)-derived MPs exhibited increased concentration and size, when compared to uninfected controls. MPs of intubated COVID-19 patients triggered EC death and overexpression of two adhesion molecules: P-selectin and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1). Strikingly, neutrophil adhesion and NET production were increased following incubation with these ECs. Importantly, we also found that preincubation of these COVID-19 MPs with the phosphatidylserine capping endogenous protein, annexin A5, abolished cytotoxicity, P-selectin and VCAM-1 induction, all like increases in neutrophil adhesion and NET release. Taken together, our results reveal that MPs play a key role in COVID-19 pathophysiology and point to a potential therapeutic: annexin A5.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Cell-Derived Microparticles/immunology , Endothelial Cells/immunology , Neutrophils/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/therapy , Cell Adhesion , Cell Death , Cell-Derived Microparticles/pathology , Cells, Cultured , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Extracellular Traps/immunology , Humans , Inflammation/immunology , Inflammation/pathology , Intubation , Neutrophils/pathology , Phosphatidylserines/immunology
5.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(24)2021 Dec 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580687

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 infection is associated with a broad spectrum of presentations, but alveolar capillary microthrombi have been described as a common finding in COVID-19 patients, appearing as a consequence of a severe endothelial injury with endothelial cell membrane disruption. These observations clearly point to the identification of a COVID-19-associated coagulopathy, which may contribute to thrombosis, multi-organ damage, and cause of severity and fatality. One significant finding that emerges in prothrombotic abnormalities observed in COVID-19 patients is that the coagulation alterations are mainly mediated by the activation of platelets and intrinsically related to viral-mediated endothelial inflammation. Beyond the well-known role in hemostasis, the ability of platelets to also release various potent cytokines and chemokines has elevated these small cells from simple cell fragments to crucial modulators in the blood, including their inflammatory functions, that have a large influence on the immune response during infectious disease. Indeed, platelets are involved in the pathogenesis of acute lung injury also by promoting NET formation and affecting vascular permeability. Specifically, the deposition by activated platelets of the chemokine platelet factor 4 at sites of inflammation promotes adhesion of neutrophils on endothelial cells and thrombogenesis, and it seems deeply involved in the phenomenon of vaccine-induced thrombocytopenia and thrombosis. Importantly, the hyperactivated platelet phenotype along with evidence of cytokine storm, high levels of P-selectin, D-dimer, and, on the other hand, decreased levels of fibrinogen, von Willebrand factor, and thrombocytopenia may be considered suitable biomarkers that distinguish the late stage of COVID-19 progression in critically ill patients.


Subject(s)
Blood Platelets/physiology , COVID-19/blood , Thrombosis/pathology , Blood Coagulation , Blood Coagulation Disorders/etiology , Blood Platelets/metabolism , Blood Platelets/virology , COVID-19/metabolism , Cytokine Release Syndrome , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products , Hemostasis , Humans , Inflammation , Phenotype , Platelet Activation/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Thrombocytopenia/metabolism , Thrombosis/metabolism , Thrombosis/virology
6.
Viruses ; 13(12)2021 12 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580422

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnant women can lead to placental damage and transplacental infection transfer, and intrauterine fetal demise is an unpredictable event. CASE STUDY: A 32-year-old patient in her 38th week of pregnancy reported loss of fetal movements. She overcame mild COVID-19 with positive PCR test 22 days before. A histology of the placenta showed deposition of intervillous fibrinoid, lympho-histiocytic infiltration, scant neutrophils, clumping of villi, and extant infarctions. Immunohistochemistry identified focal SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid and spike protein in the syncytiotrophoblast and isolated in situ hybridization of the virus' RNA. Low ACE2 and TMPRSS2 contrasted with strong basigin/CD147 and PDL-1 positivity in the trophoblast. An autopsy of the fetus showed no morphological abnormalities except for lung interstitial infiltrate, with prevalent CD8-positive T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes. Immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization proved the presence of countless dispersed SARS-CoV-2-infected epithelial and endothelial cells in the lung tissue. The potential virus-receptor protein ACE2, TMPRSS2, and CD147 expression was too low to be detected. CONCLUSION: Over three weeks' persistence of trophoblast viral infection lead to extensive intervillous fibrinoid depositions and placental infarctions. High CD147 expression might serve as the dominant receptor for the virus, and PDL-1 could limit maternal immunity in placental tissue virus clearance. The presented case indicates that the SARS-CoV-2 infection-induced changes in the placenta lead to ischemia and consecutive demise of the fetus. The infection of the fetus was without significant impact on its death. This rare complication of pregnancy can appear independently to the severity of COVID-19's clinical course in the pregnant mother.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , Placenta/pathology , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious , Stillbirth , Adult , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , B-Lymphocytes , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes , COVID-19/diagnosis , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Female , Fetus/pathology , Humans , Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical , Placenta/virology , Placenta Diseases/pathology , Placenta Diseases/virology , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/pathology , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Trophoblasts
7.
FASEB J ; 36(1): e22052, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1550589

ABSTRACT

The glycocalyx surrounds every eukaryotic cell and is a complex mesh of proteins and carbohydrates. It consists of proteoglycans with glycosaminoglycan side chains, which are highly sulfated under normal physiological conditions. The degree of sulfation and the position of the sulfate groups mainly determine biological function. The intact highly sulfated glycocalyx of the epithelium may repel severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) through electrostatic forces. However, if the glycocalyx is undersulfated and 3-O-sulfotransferase 3B (3OST-3B) is overexpressed, as is the case during chronic inflammatory conditions, SARS-CoV-2 entry may be facilitated by the glycocalyx. The degree of sulfation and position of the sulfate groups will also affect functions such as immune modulation, the inflammatory response, vascular permeability and tone, coagulation, mediation of sheer stress, and protection against oxidative stress. The rate-limiting factor to sulfation is the availability of inorganic sulfate. Various genetic and epigenetic factors will affect sulfur metabolism and inorganic sulfate availability, such as various dietary factors, and exposure to drugs, environmental toxins, and biotoxins, which will deplete inorganic sulfate. The role that undersulfation plays in the various comorbid conditions that predispose to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is also considered. The undersulfated glycocalyx may not only increase susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection, but would also result in a hyperinflammatory response, vascular permeability, and shedding of the glycocalyx components, giving rise to a procoagulant and antifibrinolytic state and eventual multiple organ failure. These symptoms relate to a diagnosis of systemic septic shock seen in almost all COVID-19 deaths. The focus of prevention and treatment protocols proposed is the preservation of epithelial and endothelial glycocalyx integrity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Endothelial Cells , Endothelium, Vascular , Glycocalyx , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Endothelium, Vascular/metabolism , Endothelium, Vascular/pathology , Glycocalyx/metabolism , Glycocalyx/pathology , Glycocalyx/virology , Humans , Oxidative Stress , Sulfotransferases/metabolism
8.
J Mol Cell Cardiol ; 164: 69-82, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1531870

ABSTRACT

The global propagation of SARS-CoV-2 leads to an unprecedented public health emergency. Despite that the lungs are the primary organ targeted by COVID-19, systemic endothelial inflammation and dysfunction is observed particularly in patients with severe COVID-19, manifested by elevated endothelial injury markers, endotheliitis, and coagulopathy. Here, we review the clinical characteristics of COVID-19 associated endothelial dysfunction; and the likely pathological mechanisms underlying the disease including direct cell entry or indirect immune overreactions after SARS-CoV-2 infection. In addition, we discuss potential biomarkers that might indicate the disease severity, particularly related to the abnormal development of thrombosis that is a fatal vascular complication of severe COVID-19. Furthermore, we summarize clinical trials targeting the direct and indirect pathological pathways after SARS-CoV-2 infection to prevent or inhibit the virus induced endothelial disorders.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Endothelium, Vascular/pathology , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/physiology , Animals , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19/therapy , Clinical Trials as Topic , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Endothelial Cells/virology , Endothelium, Vascular/immunology , Endothelium, Vascular/physiopathology , HMGB1 Protein/physiology , Humans , Macaca mulatta , Mice , Neuropilin-1/physiology , Oxidative Stress , Reactive Oxygen Species , Receptors, Virus/physiology , Scavenger Receptors, Class B/physiology , Severity of Illness Index , Signal Transduction , Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome/pathology , Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome/physiopathology , Thrombophilia/etiology , Thrombophilia/physiopathology , Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A/physiology , Vasculitis/etiology , Vasculitis/immunology , Vasculitis/physiopathology , Young Adult
9.
Cells ; 10(11)2021 11 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1512138

ABSTRACT

Molecular chaperones, many of which are heat shock proteins, play a role in cell stress response and regulate the immune system in various ways, such as in inflammatory/autoimmune reactions. It would be interesting to study the involvement of these molecules in the damage done to COVID-19-infected lungs. In our study, we performed a histological analysis and an immunomorphological evaluation on lung samples from subjects who succumbed to COVID-19 and subjects who died from other causes. We also assessed Hsp60 and Hsp90 distribution in lung samples to determine their location and post-translational modifications. We found histological alterations that could be considered pathognomonic for COVID-19-related lung disease. Hsp60 and Hsp90 immunopositivity was significantly higher in the COVID-19 group compared to the controls, and immunolocalization was in the plasma membrane of the endothelial cells in COVID-19 subjects. The colocalization ratios for Hsp60/3-nitrotyrosine and Hsp60/acetylate-lisine were significantly increased in the COVID-19 group compared to the control group, similar to the colocalization ratio for Hsp90/acetylate-lisine. The histological and immunohistochemical findings led us to hypothesize that Hsp60 and Hsp90 might have a role in the onset of the thromboembolic phenomena that lead to death in a limited number of subjects affected by COVID-19. Further studies on a larger number of samples obtained from autopsies would allow to confirm these data as well as discover new biomarkers useful in the battle against this disease.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Heat-Shock Proteins/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Adult , Aged , Autopsy , COVID-19/metabolism , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Female , Humans , Inflammation , Lung/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Cells ; 10(11)2021 11 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1512135

ABSTRACT

The bronchial vascular endothelial network plays important roles in pulmonary pathology during respiratory viral infections, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza A(H1N1) and importantly SARS-Cov-2. All of these infections can be severe and even lethal in patients with underlying risk factors.A major obstacle in disease prevention is the lack of appropriate efficacious vaccine(s) due to continuous changes in the encoding capacity of the viral genome, exuberant responsiveness of the host immune system and lack of effective antiviral drugs. Current management of these severe respiratory viral infections is limited to supportive clinical care. The primary cause of morbidity and mortality is respiratory failure, partially due to endothelial pulmonary complications, including edema. The latter is induced by the loss of alveolar epithelium integrity and by pathological changes in the endothelial vascular network that regulates blood flow, blood fluidity, exchange of fluids, electrolytes, various macromolecules and responses to signals triggered by oxygenation, and controls trafficking of leukocyte immune cells. This overview outlines the latest understanding of the implications of pulmonary vascular endothelium involvement in respiratory distress syndrome secondary to viral infections. In addition, the roles of infection-induced cytokines, growth factors, and epigenetic reprogramming in endothelial permeability, as well as emerging treatment options to decrease disease burden, are discussed.


Subject(s)
Endothelial Cells/pathology , Oxidative Stress , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/pathology , Virus Diseases/pathology , Epigenesis, Genetic , Humans , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype/physiology , Pulmonary Edema/genetics , Pulmonary Edema/pathology , Pulmonary Edema/virology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/genetics , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/virology , Respiratory Syncytial Viruses/pathogenicity , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Virus Diseases/genetics , Virus Diseases/virology
12.
Microvasc Res ; 140: 104269, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1473424

ABSTRACT

AIMS: Kawasaki disease (KD) is an acute systemic vasculitis with possible long-term impact of general cardio-vascular health. An endothelial glycocalyx disorder during the disease's acute phase might predispose to long-term vascular anomalies leading to endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis. To investigate any association between increased cardiovascular risk and endothelial glycocalyx, we assessed circulating glycocalyx components in patients with a KD history, and analysed their association with acute-phase clinical features and more importantly, with patients' current cardiovascular risk factors. METHODS: This prospective observational cohort study included 51 subjects: 31 patients with a history of KD, and 20 healthy subjects matched for age and sex. We analysed serum syndecan-1 and hyaluronan via ELISA. We assessed features reported during the acute phase of KD such as blood counts, C-reactive protein (CRP) levels and coronary artery aneurysms (CAA), and their current blood pressure and lipid markers in relation to measured glycocalyx components. RESULTS: Our multivariate analysis revealed that hyaluronan and syndecan-1 levels were not associated with KD. However, the latter exhibited a significant association with acute-phase blood count alterations in patients with KD. Furthermore, significant interactions of hyaluronan and syndecan-1 with certain cardiovascular risk factors like blood lipids and blood pressure were only present in KD patients. CONCLUSION: Vasculitis during KD's acute phase might predispose to a long-term endothelial glycocalyx alteration, influenced by other factors having a vascular impact such as blood pressure and circulating lipids. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: German Clinical Trials Register on 25th February 2016, DRKS00010071 https://www.drks.de/drks_web/.


Subject(s)
Coronary Aneurysm/blood , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Glycocalyx/metabolism , Mucocutaneous Lymph Node Syndrome/blood , Syndecan-1/blood , Adolescent , Biomarkers/blood , Blood Pressure , Child , Coronary Aneurysm/diagnosis , Coronary Aneurysm/epidemiology , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Female , Glycocalyx/pathology , Heart Disease Risk Factors , Humans , Hyaluronic Acid/blood , Incidence , Lipids/blood , Male , Mucocutaneous Lymph Node Syndrome/diagnosis , Mucocutaneous Lymph Node Syndrome/epidemiology , Predictive Value of Tests , Prognosis , Prospective Studies , Risk Assessment , Young Adult
13.
Clin Appl Thromb Hemost ; 27: 10760296211042940, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1484251

ABSTRACT

The world is in a hard battle against COVID-19. Endothelial cells are among the most critical targets of SARS-CoV-2. Dysfunction of endothelium leads to vascular injury following by coagulopathies and thrombotic conditions in the vital organs increasing the risk of life-threatening events. Growing evidences revealed that endothelial dysfunction and consequent thrombotic conditions are associated with the severity of outcomes. It is not yet fully clear that these devastating sequels originate directly from the virus or a side effect of virus-induced cytokine storm. Due to endothelial dysfunction, plasma levels of some biomarkers are changed and relevant clinical manifestations appear as well. Stabilization of endothelial integrity and supporting its function are among the promising therapeutic strategies. Other than respiratory, COVID-19 could be called a systemic vascular disease and this aspect should be scrutinized in more detail in order to reduce related mortality. In the present investigation, the effects of COVID-19 on endothelial function and thrombosis formation are discussed. In this regard, critical players, laboratory findings, clinical manifestation, and suggestive therapies are presented.


Subject(s)
Blood Coagulation , COVID-19/virology , Endothelial Cells/virology , Endothelium, Vascular/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Thrombosis/virology , Animals , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Endothelium, Vascular/metabolism , Endothelium, Vascular/physiopathology , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Signal Transduction , Thrombosis/blood , Thrombosis/pathology , Thrombosis/physiopathology
14.
Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol ; 65(3): 300-308, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1381187

ABSTRACT

Endothelial dysfunction is implicated in the thrombotic events reported in patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19), but the underlying molecular mechanisms are unknown. Circulating levels of the coagulation cascade activator PAI-1 are substantially higher in patients with COVID-19 with severe respiratory dysfunction than in patients with bacterial sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Indeed, the elevation of PAI-1 is recognized as an early marker of endothelial dysfunction. Here, we report that the rSARS-CoV-2-S1 (recombinant severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 [SARS-CoV-2] viral envelope spike) glycoprotein stimulated robust production of PAI-1 by human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (HPMECs). We examined the role of protein degradation in this SARS-CoV-2-S1 induction of PAI-1 and found that the proteasomal degradation inhibitor bortezomib inhibited SARS-CoV-2-S1-mediated changes in PAI-1. Our data further show that bortezomib upregulated KLF2, a shear-stress-regulated transcription factor that suppresses PAI-1 expression. Aging and metabolic disorders are known to increase mortality and morbidity in patients with COVID-19. We therefore examined the role of ZMPSTE24 (zinc metallopeptidase STE24), a metalloprotease with a demonstrated role in host defense against RNA viruses that is decreased in older individuals and in metabolic syndrome, in the induction of PAI-1 in HPMECs by SARS-CoV-2-S1. Indeed, overexpression of ZMPSTE24 blunted enhancement of PAI-1 production in spike protein-exposed HPMECs. In addition, we found that membrane expression of the SARS-CoV-2 entry receptor ACE2 was reduced by ZMPSTE24-mediated cleavage and shedding of the ACE2 ectodomain, leading to accumulation of ACE2 decoy fragments that may bind SARS-CoV-2. These data indicate that decreases in ZMPSTE24 with age and comorbidities may increase vulnerability to vascular endothelial injury by SARS-CoV-2 viruses and that enhanced production of endothelial PAI-1 might play role in prothrombotic events in patients with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , Metalloendopeptidases/metabolism , Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1/metabolism , Pulmonary Artery/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Aging , COVID-19/metabolism , Cells, Cultured , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Endothelial Cells/virology , Humans , Membrane Proteins/genetics , Metalloendopeptidases/genetics , Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1/genetics , Proteolysis , Pulmonary Artery/metabolism , Pulmonary Artery/virology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
15.
Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol ; 321(2): L477-L484, 2021 08 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1376529

ABSTRACT

Acute lung injury (ALI) leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome is the major cause of COVID-19 lethality. Cell entry of SARS-CoV-2 occurs via the interaction between its surface spike protein (SP) and angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2). It is unknown if the viral spike protein alone is capable of altering lung vascular permeability in the lungs or producing lung injury in vivo. To that end, we intratracheally instilled the S1 subunit of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S1SP) in K18-hACE2 transgenic mice that overexpress human ACE2 and examined signs of COVID-19-associated lung injury 72 h later. Controls included K18-hACE2 mice that received saline or the intact SP and wild-type (WT) mice that received S1SP. K18-hACE2 mice instilled with S1SP exhibited a decline in body weight, dramatically increased white blood cells and protein concentrations in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), upregulation of multiple inflammatory cytokines in BALF and serum, histological evidence of lung injury, and activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) pathways in the lung. K18-hACE2 mice that received either saline or SP exhibited little or no evidence of lung injury. WT mice that received S1SP exhibited a milder form of COVID-19 symptoms, compared with the K18-hACE2 mice. Furthermore, S1SP, but not SP, decreased cultured human pulmonary microvascular transendothelial resistance (TER) and barrier function. This is the first demonstration of a COVID-19-like response by an essential virus-encoded protein by SARS-CoV-2 in vivo. This model of COVID-19-induced ALI may assist in the investigation of new therapeutic approaches for the management of COVID-19 and other coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Acute Lung Injury/pathology , COVID-19/complications , Cell Membrane Permeability , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Lung/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Acute Lung Injury/etiology , Acute Lung Injury/metabolism , Animals , Disease Models, Animal , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Endothelial Cells/virology , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Lung/virology , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Protein Subunits , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Virus Replication
16.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(16)2021 Aug 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1360774

ABSTRACT

Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), built from mitochondrial or nuclear DNA, proteinases, and histones, entrap and eliminate pathogens in the course of bacterial or viral infections. Neutrophils' activation and the formation of NETs have been described as major risk factors for acute lung injury, multi-organ damage, and mortality in COVID-19 disease. NETs-related lung injury involves both epithelial and endothelial cells, as well as the alveolar-capillary barrier. The markers for NETs formation, such as circulating DNA, neutrophil elastase (NE) activity, or myeloperoxidase-DNA complexes, were found in lung specimens of COVID-19 victims, as well as in sera and tracheal aspirates obtained from COVID-19 patients. DNA threads form large conglomerates causing local obstruction of the small bronchi and together with NE are responsible for overproduction of mucin by epithelial cells. Various components of NETs are involved in the pathogenesis of cytokine storm in SARS-CoV-2 pulmonary disease. NETs are responsible for the interplay between inflammation and thrombosis in the affected lungs. The immunothrombosis, stimulated by NETs, has a poor prognostic significance. Better understanding of the role of NETs in the course of COVID-19 can help to develop novel approaches to the therapeutic interventions in this condition.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Extracellular Traps/virology , Lung/immunology , Neutrophils/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/immunology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/virology , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Epithelial Cells/pathology , Extracellular Traps/immunology , Histones/immunology , Humans , Leukocyte Elastase/deficiency , Leukocyte Elastase/immunology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Neutrophil Activation , Neutrophils/virology , Peroxidase/immunology
17.
J Virol ; 95(17): e0079421, 2021 08 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1350003

ABSTRACT

Increased mortality in COVID-19 cases is often associated with microvascular complications. We have recently shown that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein promotes an inflammatory cytokine interleukin 6 (IL-6)/IL-6R-induced trans signaling response and alarmin secretion. Virus-infected or spike-transfected human epithelial cells exhibited an increase in senescence, with a release of senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP)-related inflammatory molecules. Introduction of the bromodomain-containing protein 4 (BRD4) inhibitor AZD5153 to senescent epithelial cells reversed this effect and reduced SASP-related inflammatory molecule release in TMNK-1 or EAhy926 (representative human endothelial cell lines), when cells were exposed to cell culture medium (CM) derived from A549 cells expressing SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Cells also exhibited a senescence phenotype with enhanced p16, p21, and senescence-associated ß-galactosidase (SA-ß-Gal) expression and triggered SASP pathways. Inhibition of IL-6 trans signaling by tocilizumab and inhibition of inflammatory receptor signaling by the Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor zanubrutinib, prior to exposure of CM to endothelial cells, inhibited p21 and p16 induction. We also observed an increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) in A549 spike-transfected and endothelial cells exposed to spike-transfected CM. ROS generation in endothelial cell lines was reduced after treatment with tocilizumab and zanubrutinib. Cellular senescence was associated with an increased level of the endothelial adhesion molecules vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), which have in vitro leukocyte attachment potential. Inhibition of senescence or SASP function prevented VCAM-1/ICAM-1 expression and leukocyte attachment. Taken together, we identified that human endothelial cells exposed to cell culture supernatant derived from SARS-CoV-2 spike protein expression displayed cellular senescence markers, leading to enhanced leukocyte adhesion. IMPORTANCE The present study was aimed at examining the underlying mechanism of extrapulmonary manifestations of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-associated pathogenesis, with the notion that infection of the pulmonary epithelium can lead to mediators that drive endothelial dysfunction. We utilized SARS-CoV-2 spike protein expression in cultured human hepatocytes (Huh7.5) and pneumocytes (A549) to generate conditioned culture medium (CM). Endothelial cell lines (TMNK-1 or EAhy926) treated with CM exhibited an increase in cellular senescence markers by a paracrine mode and led to leukocyte adhesion. Overall, the link between these responses in endothelial cell senescence and a potential contribution to microvascular complication in productively SARS-CoV-2-infected humans is implicated. Furthermore, the use of inhibitors (BTK, IL-6, and BRD4) showed a reverse effect in the senescent cells. These results may support the selection of potential adjunct therapeutic modalities to impede SARS-CoV-2-associated pathogenesis.


Subject(s)
Cellular Senescence , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Leukocytes/metabolism , Paracrine Communication , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , A549 Cells , Cell Adhesion , Cell Cycle Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Cell Cycle Proteins/metabolism , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Endothelial Cells/virology , Heterocyclic Compounds, 2-Ring/pharmacology , Humans , Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1/metabolism , Interleukin-6/metabolism , Leukocytes/pathology , Leukocytes/virology , Piperazines/pharmacology , Pyrazoles , Pyridazines , Reactive Oxygen Species/metabolism , Receptors, Interleukin-6/metabolism , Signal Transduction , Transcription Factors/antagonists & inhibitors , Transcription Factors/metabolism , Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1/metabolism
18.
Elife ; 92020 04 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1344522

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 patients can present with pulmonary edema early in disease. We propose that this is due to a local vascular problem because of activation of bradykinin 1 receptor (B1R) and B2R on endothelial cells in the lungs. SARS-CoV-2 enters the cell via ACE2 that next to its role in RAAS is needed to inactivate des-Arg9 bradykinin, the potent ligand of the B1R. Without ACE2 acting as a guardian to inactivate the ligands of B1R, the lung environment is prone for local vascular leakage leading to angioedema. Here, we hypothesize that a kinin-dependent local lung angioedema via B1R and eventually B2R is an important feature of COVID-19. We propose that blocking the B2R and inhibiting plasma kallikrein activity might have an ameliorating effect on early disease caused by COVID-19 and might prevent acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). In addition, this pathway might indirectly be responsive to anti-inflammatory agents.


The COVID-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented threat to global health. Millions of cases have been confirmed around the world, and hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives. Common symptoms include a fever and persistent cough and COVID-19 patients also often experience an excess of fluid in the lungs, which makes it difficult to breathe. In some cases, this develops into a life-threatening condition whereby the lungs cannot provide the body's vital organs with enough oxygen. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, enters the lining of the lungs via an enzyme called the ACE2 receptor, which is present on the outer surface of the lungs' cells. The related coronavirus that was responsible for the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s also needs the ACE2 receptor to enter the cells of the lungs. In SARS, the levels of ACE2 in the lung decline during the infection. Studies with mice have previously revealed that a shortage of ACE2 leads to increased levels of a hormone called angiotensin II, which regulates blood pressure. As a result, much attention has turned to the potential link between this hormone system in relation to COVID-19. However, other mouse studies have shown that ACE2 protects against a build-up of fluid in the lungs caused by a different molecule made by the body. This molecule, which is actually a small fragment of a protein, lowers blood pressure and causes fluid to leak out of blood vessels. It belongs to a family of molecules known as kinins, and ACE2 is known to inactivate certain kinins. This led van de Veerdonk et al. to propose that the excess of fluid in the lungs seen in COVID-19 patients may be because kinins are not being neutralized due to the shortage of the ACE2 receptor. This had not been hypothesized before, even though the mechanism could be the same in SARS which has been researched for the past 17 years. If this hypothesis is correct, it would mean that directly inhibiting the receptor for the kinins (or the proteins that they come from) may be the only way to stop fluid leaking into the lungs of COVID-19 patients in the early stage of disease. This hypothesis is unproven, and more work is needed to see if it is clinically relevant. If that work provides a proof of concept, it means that existing treatments and registered drugs could potentially help patients with COVID-19, by preventing the need for mechanical ventilation and saving many lives.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Drug Development , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Angioedema/drug therapy , Angioedema/metabolism , Angioedema/pathology , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/therapeutic use , Betacoronavirus/physiology , Bradykinin Receptor Antagonists/therapeutic use , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Humans , Inflammation/immunology , Inflammation/pathology , Kallikreins/metabolism , Kinins/metabolism , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Receptor, Bradykinin B1/metabolism , Receptor, Bradykinin B2/metabolism , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/drug therapy , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/pathology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Signal Transduction
19.
Cells ; 10(8)2021 07 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1335012

ABSTRACT

Multiorgan tropism of SARS-CoV-2 has previously been shown for several major organs. We have comprehensively analyzed 25 different formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues/organs from autopsies of fatal COVID-19 cases (n = 8), using histopathological assessment, detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA using polymerase chain reaction and RNA in situ hybridization, viral protein using immunohistochemistry, and virus particles using transmission electron microscopy. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was mainly localized in epithelial cells across all organs. Next to lung, trachea, kidney, heart, or liver, viral RNA was also found in tonsils, salivary glands, oropharynx, thyroid, adrenal gland, testicles, prostate, ovaries, small bowel, lymph nodes, skin and skeletal muscle. Viral RNA was predominantly found in cells expressing ACE2, TMPRSS2, or both. The SARS-CoV-2 replicating RNA was also detected in these organs. Immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy were not suitable for reliable and specific SARS-CoV-2 detection in autopsies. These findings were validated using in situ hybridization on external COVID-19 autopsy samples (n = 9). Apart from the lung, correlation of viral detection and histopathological assessment did not reveal any specific alterations that could be attributed to SARS-CoV-2. In summary, SARS-CoV-2 and its replication could be observed across all organ systems, which co-localizes with ACE2 and TMPRSS2 mainly in epithelial but also in mesenchymal and endothelial cells. Apart from the respiratory tract, no specific (histo-)morphologic alterations could be assigned to the SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Aged , Autopsy , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Endothelial Cells/virology , Female , Gene Expression Regulation , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Organ Specificity , Tropism
20.
Cells ; 10(7)2021 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1323124

ABSTRACT

Activation of Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels can disrupt endothelial barrier function, as their mediated Ca2+ influx activates the CaM (calmodulin)/MLCK (myosin light chain kinase)-signaling pathway, and thereby rearranges the cytoskeleton, increases endothelial permeability and thus can facilitate activation of inflammatory cells and formation of pulmonary edema. Interestingly, TRP channel subunits can build heterotetramers, whereas heteromeric TRPC1/4, TRPC3/6 and TRPV1/4 are expressed in the lung endothelium and could be targeted as a protective strategy to reduce endothelial permeability in pulmonary inflammation. An update on TRP heteromers and their role in lung inflammation will be provided with this review.


Subject(s)
Pneumonia/metabolism , Protein Multimerization , Transient Receptor Potential Channels/metabolism , Animals , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Endothelial Cells/pathology , Humans , Ion Channel Gating , Models, Biological , Pneumonia/pathology , Pneumonia/physiopathology
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