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Front Immunol ; 12: 740260, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1506482


Increased left ventricular fibrosis has been reported in patients hospitalized with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). It is unclear whether this fibrosis is a consequence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection or a risk factor for severe disease progression. We observed increased fibrosis in the left ventricular myocardium of deceased COVID-19 patients, compared with matched controls. We also detected increased mRNA levels of soluble interleukin-1 receptor-like 1 (sIL1-RL1) and transforming growth factor ß1 (TGF-ß1) in the left ventricular myocardium of deceased COVID-19 patients. Biochemical analysis of blood sampled from patients admitted to the emergency department (ED) with COVID-19 revealed highly elevated levels of TGF-ß1 mRNA in these patients compared to controls. Left ventricular strain measured by echocardiography as a marker of pre-existing cardiac fibrosis correlated strongly with blood TGF-ß1 mRNA levels and predicted disease severity in COVID-19 patients. In the left ventricular myocardium and lungs of COVID-19 patients, we found increased neuropilin-1 (NRP-1) RNA levels, which correlated strongly with the prevalence of pulmonary SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid. Cardiac and pulmonary fibrosis may therefore predispose these patients to increased cellular viral entry in the lung, which may explain the worse clinical outcome observed in our cohort. Our study demonstrates that patients at risk of clinical deterioration can be identified early by echocardiographic strain analysis and quantification of blood TGF-ß1 mRNA performed at the time of first medical contact.

COVID-19/physiopathology , Heart Ventricles/pathology , Myocardium/pathology , Pulmonary Fibrosis/physiopathology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/immunology , Female , Fibrosis , Heart Ventricles/metabolism , Humans , Interleukin-1 Receptor-Like 1 Protein/genetics , Interleukin-1 Receptor-Like 1 Protein/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Myocardium/metabolism , Neuropilin-1/genetics , Neuropilin-1/metabolism , Pulmonary Fibrosis/immunology , Risk , Severity of Illness Index , Transforming Growth Factor beta1/genetics , Transforming Growth Factor beta1/metabolism , Viral Load
Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol ; 13(8): e008627, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-641777


BACKGROUND: During acute infections, the risk of malignant ventricular arrhythmias is increased, partly because of a higher propensity to develop QTc prolongation. Although it is generally believed that QTc changes almost exclusively result from concomitant treatment with QT-prolonging antimicrobials, direct effects of inflammatory cytokines on ventricular repolarization are increasingly recognized. We hypothesized that systemic inflammation per se can significantly prolong QTc during acute infections, via cytokine-mediated changes in K+ channel expression. METHODS: We evaluated (1) the frequency of QTc prolongation and its association with inflammatory markers, in patients with different types of acute infections, during active disease and remission; (2) the prevalence of acute infections in a cohort of consecutive patients with Torsades de Pointes; (3) the relationship between K+ channel mRNA levels in ventricles and peripheral blood mononuclear cells and their changes in patients with acute infection over time. RESULTS: In patients with acute infections, regardless of concomitant QT-prolonging antimicrobial treatments, QTc was significantly prolonged but rapidly normalized in parallel to CRP (C-reactive protein) and cytokine level reduction. Consistently in the Torsades de Pointes cohort, concomitant acute infections were highly prevalent (30%), despite only a minority (25%) of these cases were treated with QT-prolonging antimicrobials. KCNJ2 K+ channel expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cell, which strongly correlated to that in ventricles, inversely associated to CRP and IL (interleukin)-1 changes in acute infection patients. CONCLUSIONS: During acute infections, systemic inflammation rapidly induces cytokine-mediated ventricular electrical remodeling and significant QTc prolongation, regardless concomitant antimicrobial therapy. Although transient, these changes may significantly increase the risk of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmia in these patients. It is timely and warranted to transpose these findings to the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, in which both increased amounts of circulating cytokines and cardiac arrhythmias are demonstrated along with a frequent concomitant treatment with several QT-prolonging drugs. Graphic Abstract: A graphic abstract is available for this article.

Communicable Diseases/metabolism , Cytokines/metabolism , Heart Arrest/metabolism , Heart Rate , Heart Ventricles/metabolism , Inflammation/metabolism , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/metabolism , Potassium Channels, Inwardly Rectifying/metabolism , Torsades de Pointes/metabolism , Action Potentials , Acute Disease , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Anti-Infective Agents/adverse effects , Communicable Diseases/drug therapy , Communicable Diseases/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases/physiopathology , Female , Heart Arrest/epidemiology , Heart Arrest/physiopathology , Heart Rate/drug effects , Heart Ventricles/drug effects , Heart Ventricles/physiopathology , Humans , Inflammation/epidemiology , Inflammation/physiopathology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/drug effects , Male , Middle Aged , Potassium Channels, Inwardly Rectifying/genetics , Prevalence , Risk Factors , Signal Transduction , Time Factors , Torsades de Pointes/epidemiology , Torsades de Pointes/physiopathology , Young Adult