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1.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(21)2021 Oct 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488607

ABSTRACT

Emerging evidence suggests that males are more susceptible to severe infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus than females. A variety of mechanisms may underlie the observed gender-related disparities including differences in sex hormones. However, the precise mechanisms by which female sex hormones may provide protection against SARS-CoV-2 infectivity remains unknown. Here we report new insights into the molecular basis of the interactions between the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein and the human ACE2 receptor. We further report that glycosylation of the ACE2 receptor enhances SARS-CoV-2 infectivity. Importantly, estrogens can disrupt glycan-glycan interactions and glycan-protein interactions between the human ACE2 and the SARS-CoV-2 thereby blocking its entry into cells. In a mouse model of COVID-19, estrogens reduced ACE2 glycosylation and thereby alveolar uptake of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. These results shed light on a putative mechanism whereby female sex hormones may provide protection from developing severe infection and could inform the development of future therapies against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Estrogens/chemistry , Estrogens/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Biological Transport , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Estrogens/pharmacology , Glycosylation/drug effects , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells , Humans , Male , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Models, Molecular , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Polysaccharides/chemistry , Polysaccharides/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Tunicamycin/pharmacology
2.
Elife ; 102021 10 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1485451

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2 infection leads to severe disease associated with cytokine storm, vascular dysfunction, coagulation, and progressive lung damage. It affects several vital organs, seemingly through a pathological effect on endothelial cells. The SARS-CoV-2 genome encodes 29 proteins, whose contribution to the disease manifestations, and especially endothelial complications, is unknown. We cloned and expressed 26 of these proteins in human cells and characterized the endothelial response to overexpression of each, individually. Whereas most proteins induced significant changes in endothelial permeability, nsp2, nsp5_c145a (catalytic dead mutant of nsp5), and nsp7 also reduced CD31, and increased von Willebrand factor expression and IL-6, suggesting endothelial dysfunction. Using propagation-based analysis of a protein-protein interaction (PPI) network, we predicted the endothelial proteins affected by the viral proteins that potentially mediate these effects. We further applied our PPI model to identify the role of each SARS-CoV-2 protein in other tissues affected by coronavirus disease (COVID-19). While validating the PPI network model, we found that the tight junction (TJ) proteins cadherin-5, ZO-1, and ß-catenin are affected by nsp2, nsp5_c145a, and nsp7 consistent with the model prediction. Overall, this work identifies the SARS-CoV-2 proteins that might be most detrimental in terms of endothelial dysfunction, thereby shedding light on vascular aspects of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Capillary Permeability , Endothelium, Vascular/metabolism , Host-Pathogen Interactions , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells , Humans , Protein Interaction Maps , Tight Junction Proteins/metabolism
3.
Front Immunol ; 12: 718136, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1468341

ABSTRACT

Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a receptor for the spike protein of SARS-COV-2 that allows viral binding and entry and is expressed on the surface of several pulmonary and non-pulmonary cell types, with induction of a "cytokine storm" upon binding. Other cell types present the receptor and can be infected, including cardiac, renal, intestinal, and endothelial cells. High ACE2 levels protect from inflammation. Despite the relevance of ACE2 levels in COVID-19 pathogenesis, experimental studies to comprehensively address the question of ACE2 regulations are still limited. A relevant observation from the clinic is that, besides the pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6 and IL-1ß, the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 is also elevated in worse prognosis patients. This could represent somehow a "danger signal", an alarmin from the host organism, given the immuno-regulatory properties of the cytokine. Here, we investigated whether IL-10 could increase ACE2 expression in the lung-derived Calu-3 cell line. We provided preliminary evidence of ACE2 mRNA increase in cells of lung origin in vitro, following IL-10 treatment. Endothelial cell infection by SARS-COV-2 is associated with vasculitis, thromboembolism, and disseminated intravascular coagulation. We confirmed ACE2 expression enhancement by IL-10 treatment also on endothelial cells. The sartans (olmesartan and losartan) showed non-statistically significant ACE2 modulation in Calu-3 and endothelial cells, as compared to untreated control cells. We observed that the antidiabetic biguanide metformin, a putative anti-inflammatory agent, also upregulates ACE2 expression in Calu-3 and endothelial cells. We hypothesized that IL-10 could be a danger signal, and its elevation could possibly represent a feedback mechanism fighting inflammation. Although further confirmatory studies are required, inducing IL-10 upregulation could be clinically relevant in COVID-19-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and vasculitis, by reinforcing ACE2 levels.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/enzymology , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/drug effects , Interleukin-10/pharmacology , Lung/drug effects , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , Cell Line , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/enzymology , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/immunology , Humans , Lung/enzymology , Lung/immunology , Metformin/pharmacology , RNA, Messenger/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Up-Regulation
4.
J Virol ; 95(23): e0139621, 2021 11 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1434896

ABSTRACT

Emerging evidence suggests that endothelial activation plays a central role in the pathogenesis of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and multiorgan failure in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, the molecular mechanisms underlying endothelial activation in COVID-19 patients remain unclear. In this study, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) viral proteins that potently activate human endothelial cells were screened to elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved in endothelial activation. It was found that nucleocapsid protein (NP) of SARS-CoV-2 significantly activated human endothelial cells through Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2)/NF-κB and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways. Moreover, by screening a natural microbial compound library containing 154 natural compounds, simvastatin was identified as a potent inhibitor of NP-induced endothelial activation. Remarkably, though the protein sequences of N proteins from coronaviruses are highly conserved, only NP from SARS-CoV-2 induced endothelial activation. The NPs from other coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), HUB1-CoV, and influenza virus H1N1 did not activate endothelial cells. These findings are consistent with the results from clinical investigations showing broad endotheliitis and organ injury in severe COVID-19 patients. In conclusion, the study provides insights on SARS-CoV-2-induced vasculopathy and coagulopathy and suggests that simvastatin, an FDA-approved lipid-lowering drug, may help prevent the pathogenesis and improve the outcome of COVID-19 patients. IMPORTANCE Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the betacoronavirus SARS-CoV-2, is a worldwide challenge for health care systems. The leading cause of mortality in patients with COVID-19 is hypoxic respiratory failure from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). To date, pulmonary endothelial cells (ECs) have been largely overlooked as a therapeutic target in COVID-19, yet emerging evidence suggests that these cells contribute to the initiation and propagation of ARDS by altering vessel barrier integrity, promoting a procoagulative state, inducing vascular inflammation and mediating inflammatory cell infiltration. Therefore, a better mechanistic understanding of the vasculature is of utmost importance. In this study, we screened the SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins that potently activate human endothelial cells and found that nucleocapsid protein (NP) significantly activated human endothelial cells through TLR2/NF-κB and MAPK signaling pathways. Moreover, by screening a natural microbial compound library containing 154 natural compounds, simvastatin was identified as a potent inhibitor of NP-induced endothelial activation. Our results provide insights on SARS-CoV-2-induced vasculopathy and coagulopathy, and suggests that simvastatin, an FDA-approved lipid-lowering drug, may benefit to prevent the pathogenesis and improve the outcome of COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Endothelial Cells/drug effects , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Endothelial Cells/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Signal Transduction , Simvastatin/pharmacology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells , Humans , Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases/metabolism , NF-kappa B/metabolism , Toll-Like Receptor 2/metabolism
5.
JCI Insight ; 6(17)2021 09 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1413722

ABSTRACT

Neutrophil-mediated activation and injury of the endothelium play roles in the pathogenesis of diverse disease states ranging from autoimmunity to cancer to COVID-19. Neutralization of cationic proteins (such as neutrophil extracellular trap-derived [NET-derived] histones) with polyanionic compounds has been suggested as a potential strategy for protecting the endothelium from such insults. Here, we report that the US Food and Drug Administration-approved polyanionic agent defibrotide (a pleiotropic mixture of oligonucleotides) directly engages histones and thereby blocks their pathological effects on endothelium. In vitro, defibrotide counteracted endothelial cell activation and pyroptosis-mediated cell death, whether triggered by purified NETs or recombinant histone H4. In vivo, defibrotide stabilized the endothelium and protected against histone-accelerated inferior vena cava thrombosis in mice. Mechanistically, defibrotide demonstrated direct and tight binding to histone H4 as detected by both electrophoretic mobility shift assay and surface plasmon resonance. Taken together, these data provide insights into the potential role of polyanionic compounds in protecting the endothelium from thromboinflammation with potential implications for myriad NET- and histone-accelerated disease states.


Subject(s)
Fibrinolytic Agents/pharmacology , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/drug effects , Polydeoxyribonucleotides/pharmacology , Thrombosis/drug therapy , Animals , Extracellular Traps/drug effects , Extracellular Traps/metabolism , Fibrinolytic Agents/therapeutic use , Histones/metabolism , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Humans , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Polydeoxyribonucleotides/therapeutic use , Pyroptosis
6.
Biomed Pharmacother ; 137: 111419, 2021 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1392160

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Atherosclerosis, inflammatory disease, is a major reason for cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Kaempferol (Kae) has been well-documented to have pharmacological activities in the previous studies. However, the detailed mechanisms by which Kae regulates inflammation, oxidative stress, and apoptosis in Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells (HUVECs) remain unknown. METHODS AND RESULTS: The real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) was used to measure expression levels of circNOL12, nucleolar protein 12 (NOL12), miR-6873-3p, and Fibroblast growth factor receptor substrate 2 (FRS2) in HUVECs treated with either oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL) alone or in combination with Kae. The cells viability was assessed by 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazol-3-ium bromide (MTT) assay. The inflammation and oxidative stress were assessed by checking inflammatory factors, Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), and Malondialdehyde (MDA) levels in ox-LDL-induced HUVECs. The apoptotic cells were quantified by flow cytometry assay. The western blot assay was used for measuring protein expression. The interaction relationship between miR-6873-3p and circNOL12 or FRS2 was analyzed by dual-luciferase reporter and RNA pull-down assays. Treatment with Kae could inhibit ox-LDL-induced the upregulation of circNOL12 in HUVECs. Importantly, Kae weakened ox-LDL-induced inflammation, oxidative stress, and apoptosis in HUVECs, which was abolished by overexpression of circNOL12. What's more, miR-6873-3p was a target of circNOL12 in HUVECs, and the upregulation of miR-6873-3p overturned circNOL12 overexpression-induced effects on HUVECs treated with ox-LDL and Kae. FRS2 was negatively regulated by miR-6873-3p in HUVECs. CONCLUSION: Kae alleviated ox-LDL-induced inflammation, oxidative stress, and apoptosis in HUVECs by regulating circNOL12/miR-6873-3p/FRS2 axis.


Subject(s)
Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/drug effects , Endothelial Cells/drug effects , Kaempferols/pharmacology , Membrane Proteins/drug effects , MicroRNAs/drug effects , Nuclear Proteins/drug effects , RNA-Binding Proteins/drug effects , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacology , Antioxidants/pharmacology , Apoptosis/drug effects , Female , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells , Humans , Oxidative Stress/drug effects , Reactive Oxygen Species/metabolism
7.
World J Gastroenterol ; 27(32): 5404-5423, 2021 Aug 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1379993

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Intestinal barrier breakdown, a frequent complication of intestinal ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) including dysfunction and the structure changes of the intestine, is characterized by a loss of tight junction and enhanced permeability of the intestinal barrier and increased mortality. To develop effective and novel therapeutics is important for the improvement of outcome of patients with intestinal barrier deterioration. Recombinant human angiopoietin-like protein 4 (rhANGPTL4) is reported to protect the blood-brain barrier when administered exogenously, and endogenous ANGPTL4 deficiency deteriorates radiation-induced intestinal injury. AIM: To identify whether rhANGPTL4 may protect intestinal barrier breakdown induced by I/R. METHODS: Intestinal I/R injury was elicited through clamping the superior mesenteric artery for 60 min followed by 240 min reperfusion. Intestinal epithelial (Caco-2) cells and human umbilical vein endothelial cells were challenged by hypoxia/ reoxygenation to mimic I/R in vitro. RESULTS: Indicators including fluorescein isothiocyanate-conjugated dextran (4 kilodaltons; FD-4) clearance, ratio of phosphorylated myosin light chain/total myosin light chain, myosin light chain kinase and loss of zonula occludens-1, claudin-2 and VE-cadherin were significantly increased after intestinal I/R or cell hypoxia/reoxygenation. rhANGPTL4 treatment significantly reversed these indicators, which were associated with inhibiting the inflammatory and oxidative cascade, excessive activation of cellular autophagy and apoptosis and improvement of survival rate. Similar results were observed in vitro when cells were challenged by hypoxia/reoxygenation, whereas rhANGPTL4 reversed the indicators close to normal level in Caco-2 cells and human umbilical vein endothelial cells significantly. CONCLUSION: rhANGPTL4 can function as a protective agent against intestinal injury induced by intestinal I/R and improve survival via maintenance of intestinal barrier structure and functions.


Subject(s)
/pharmacology , Intestines , Reperfusion Injury , Caco-2 Cells , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells , Humans , Intestinal Mucosa , Recombinant Proteins/pharmacology , Reperfusion Injury/prevention & control
8.
Gene ; 801: 145854, 2021 Oct 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1313122

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Both COVID-19 and influenza are viral respiratory tract infections and the epidemics of viral respiratory tract infections remain highly prevalent with lethal consequences in susceptible individuals. Expression of ICAM-1 on vascular endothelium recruits leukocytes which initiates inflammation. IL-6 induces ICAM-1. Both ICAM-1 and IL-6 can be enhanced in influenza virus infection and COVID-19 patients. Besides initiation of virus entry host cells, whether HA alone, instead of whole virus, of influenza has the effects on expression of ICAM-1 and IL-6 in vascular endothelium with injury in the lungs, remains to be demonstrated. METHODS: RT-qPCR and Western blot as well as histopathologic examination were used to examine mRNA and protein of ICAM-1 and IL-6 as well as pathological injury in the lung tissues, respectively. RESULTS: After incubation of the Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells (HUVECs) with HA of H1N1 for 24 h, the mRNA and protein of ICAM-1 and IL-6 in HUVECs were increased in group of 5 µg/ml concentration with statistical significance (p < 0.05). Pathological injury in lung tissues of the mice was shown 12 h after tail intravenous injection with 100 µl of HA (50 µg/ml and 100 µg/ml in normal saline), including widened alveolar spaces with angiotelectasis in alveolar wall, alveolar luminal and interstitial inflammatory infiltrates, alveolar luminal erythrocyte effusion. CONCLUSIONS: HA alone, instead of whole H1N1 virus, induced more expression of ICAM-1 and IL-6, two molecules involving in pathological and inflammatory responses, in HUVECs and pathological injury in lung tissues of the mice. This knowledge provides a new HA-targeted potential direction for prevention and treatment of disease related to H1N1 infection.


Subject(s)
Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus/physiology , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype/physiology , Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1/metabolism , Interleukin-6/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Cells, Cultured , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
9.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 266, 2021 07 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1307323

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is regarded as an endothelial disease (endothelialitis) with its patho-mechanism being incompletely understood. Emerging evidence has demonstrated that endothelial dysfunction precipitates COVID-19 and its accompanying multi-organ injuries. Thus, pharmacotherapies targeting endothelial dysfunction have potential to ameliorate COVID-19 and its cardiovascular complications. The objective of the present study is to evaluate whether kruppel-like factor 2 (KLF2), a master regulator of vascular homeostasis, represents a therapeutic target for COVID-19-induced endothelial dysfunction. Here, we demonstrate that the expression of KLF2 was reduced and monocyte adhesion was increased in endothelial cells treated with COVID-19 patient serum due to elevated levels of pro-adhesive molecules, ICAM1 and VCAM1. IL-1ß and TNF-α, two cytokines elevated in cytokine release syndrome in COVID-19 patients, decreased KLF2 gene expression. Pharmacologic (atorvastatin and tannic acid) and genetic (adenoviral overexpression) approaches to augment KLF2 levels attenuated COVID-19-serum-induced increase in endothelial inflammation and monocyte adhesion. Next-generation RNA-sequencing data showed that atorvastatin treatment leads to a cardiovascular protective transcriptome associated with improved endothelial function (vasodilation, anti-inflammation, antioxidant status, anti-thrombosis/-coagulation, anti-fibrosis, and reduced angiogenesis). Finally, knockdown of KLF2 partially reversed the ameliorative effect of atorvastatin on COVID-19-serum-induced endothelial inflammation and monocyte adhesion. Collectively, the present study implicates loss of KLF2 as an important molecular event in the development of COVID-19-induced vascular disease and suggests that efforts to augment KLF2 levels may be therapeutically beneficial.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells , Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors/biosynthesis , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cytokines/biosynthesis , Cytokines/genetics , Gene Expression Regulation , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/pathology , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/virology , Humans , Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1/biosynthesis , Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1/genetics , Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1/biosynthesis , Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1/genetics
10.
Int J Biol Sci ; 17(6): 1521-1529, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1206433

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has been raging worldwide for more than a year. Many efforts have been made to create vaccines and develop new antiviral drugs to cope with the disease. Here, we propose the application of short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) to degrade the viral genome, thus reducing viral infection. By introducing the concept of the probability of binding efficiency (PBE) and combining the secondary structures of RNA molecules, we designed 11 siRNAs that target the consensus regions of three key viral genes: the spike (S), nucleocapsid (N) and membrane (M) genes of SARS-CoV-2. The silencing efficiencies of the siRNAs were determined in human lung and endothelial cells overexpressing these viral genes. The results suggested that most of the siRNAs could significantly reduce the expression of the viral genes with inhibition rates above 50% in 24 hours. This work not only provides a strategy for designing potentially effective siRNAs against target genes but also validates several potent siRNAs that can be used in the clinical development of preventative medication for COVID-19 in the future.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Gene Expression Regulation, Viral/physiology , Genes, Viral , RNA, Small Interfering/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , A549 Cells , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells , Humans , Mutation , Probability , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
11.
Life Sci ; 276: 119376, 2021 Jul 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1157590

ABSTRACT

The severe forms and worsened outcomes of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 19) are closely associated with hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Endothelial cells express Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2), which is the entrance door for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The hallmarks of severe illness caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection are increased levels of IL-6, C-reactive protein, D-dimer, ferritin, neutrophilia and lymphopenia, pulmonary intravascular coagulopathy and microthrombi of alveolar capillaries. The endothelial glycocalyx, a proteoglycan- and glycoprotein-rich layer covering the luminal side of endothelial cells, contributes to vascular homeostasis. It regulates vascular tonus and permeability, prevents thrombosis, and modulates leukocyte adhesion and inflammatory response. We hypothesized that cytokine production and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation associated with COVID-19 leads to glycocalyx degradation. A cohort of 20 hospitalized patients with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis and healthy subjects were enrolled in this study. Mechanisms associated with glycocalyx degradation in COVID-19 were investigated. Increased plasma concentrations of IL-6 and IL1-ß, as well as increased lipid peroxidation and glycocalyx components were detected in plasma from COVID-19 patients compared to plasma from healthy subjects. Plasma from COVID-19 patients induced glycocalyx shedding in cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and disrupted redox balance. Treatment of HUVECs with low molecular weight heparin inhibited the glycocalyx perturbation. In conclusion, plasma from COVID-19 patients promotes glycocalyx shedding and redox imbalance in endothelial cells, and heparin treatment potentially inhibits glycocalyx disruption.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/pathology , Glycocalyx/pathology , Heparin/pharmacology , Aged , Blood Coagulation Disorders/blood , Blood Coagulation Disorders/virology , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19 Testing , Case-Control Studies , Cell Adhesion/physiology , Endothelium, Vascular/metabolism , Female , Glycocalyx/metabolism , Glycocalyx/virology , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells , Humans , Interleukin-1beta/blood , Interleukin-6/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Oxidation-Reduction , SARS-CoV-2 , Thrombosis/metabolism
12.
Stem Cells ; 39(7): 904-912, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1126519

ABSTRACT

We have shown previously that transplanted bone marrow mononuclear cells (BM-MNC), which are a cell fraction rich in hematopoietic stem cells, can activate cerebral endothelial cells via gap junction-mediated cell-cell interaction. In the present study, we investigated such cell-cell interaction between mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and cerebral endothelial cells. In contrast to BM-MNC, for MSC we observed suppression of vascular endothelial growth factor uptake into endothelial cells and transfer of glucose from endothelial cells to MSC in vitro. The transfer of such a small molecule from MSC to vascular endothelium was subsequently confirmed in vivo and was followed by suppressed activation of macrophage/microglia in stroke mice. The suppressive effect was absent by blockade of gap junction at MSC. Furthermore, gap junction-mediated cell-cell interaction was observed between circulating white blood cells and MSC. Our findings indicate that gap junction-mediated cell-cell interaction is one of the major pathways for MSC-mediated suppression of inflammation in the brain following stroke and provides a novel strategy to maintain the blood-brain barrier in injured brain. Furthermore, our current results have the potential to provide a novel insight for other ongoing clinical trials that make use of MSC transplantation aiming to suppress excess inflammation, as well as other diseases such as COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019).


Subject(s)
Cell Communication , Gap Junctions , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation , Mesenchymal Stem Cells , Stroke , Allografts , Animals , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Gap Junctions/metabolism , Gap Junctions/pathology , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/pathology , Humans , Mesenchymal Stem Cells/metabolism , Mesenchymal Stem Cells/pathology , Mice , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Stroke/metabolism , Stroke/pathology , Stroke/therapy
13.
J Thromb Haemost ; 18(12): 3296-3308, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066732

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: It is long established that von Willebrand factor (VWF) is central to hemostasis and thrombosis. Endothelial VWF is stored in cell-specific secretory granules, Weibel-Palade bodies (WPBs), organelles generated in a wide range of lengths (0.5-5.0 µm). WPB size responds to physiological cues and pharmacological treatment, and VWF secretion from shortened WPBs dramatically reduces platelet and plasma VWF adhesion to an endothelial surface. OBJECTIVE: We hypothesized that WPB-shortening represented a novel target for antithrombotic therapy. Our objective was to determine whether compounds exhibiting this activity do exist. METHODS: Using a microscopy approach coupled to automated image analysis, we measured the size of WPB bodies in primary human endothelial cells treated with licensed compounds for 24 hours. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: A novel approach to identification of antithrombotic compounds generated a significant number of candidates with the ability to shorten WPBs. In vitro assays of two selected compounds confirm that they inhibit the pro-hemostatic activity of secreted VWF. This set of compounds acting at a very early stage of the hemostatic process could well prove to be a useful adjunct to current antithrombotic therapeutics. Further, in the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, with a considerable fraction of critically ill COVID-19 patients affected by hypercoagulability, these WPB size-reducing drugs might also provide welcome therapeutic leads for frontline clinicians and researchers.


Subject(s)
Fibrinolytic Agents/pharmacology , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/drug effects , Organelle Size/drug effects , Weibel-Palade Bodies/drug effects , Cells, Cultured , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Drug Repositioning , Hemostasis/drug effects , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/pathology , Humans , Weibel-Palade Bodies/metabolism , Weibel-Palade Bodies/pathology , von Willebrand Factor/genetics , von Willebrand Factor/metabolism
14.
Cell ; 184(1): 149-168.e17, 2021 01 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1064910

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is characterized by excessive production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and acute lung damage associated with patient mortality. While multiple inflammatory cytokines are produced by innate immune cells during SARS-CoV-2 infection, we found that only the combination of TNF-α and IFN-γ induced inflammatory cell death characterized by inflammatory cell death, PANoptosis. Mechanistically, TNF-α and IFN-γ co-treatment activated the JAK/STAT1/IRF1 axis, inducing nitric oxide production and driving caspase-8/FADD-mediated PANoptosis. TNF-α and IFN-γ caused a lethal cytokine shock in mice that mirrors the tissue damage and inflammation of COVID-19, and inhibiting PANoptosis protected mice from this pathology and death. Furthermore, treating with neutralizing antibodies against TNF-α and IFN-γ protected mice from mortality during SARS-CoV-2 infection, sepsis, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, and cytokine shock. Collectively, our findings suggest that blocking the cytokine-mediated inflammatory cell death signaling pathway identified here may benefit patients with COVID-19 or other infectious and autoinflammatory diseases by limiting tissue damage/inflammation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/immunology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/pathology , Interferon-gamma/immunology , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/administration & dosage , Cell Death , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells , Humans , Inflammation/immunology , Inflammation/pathology , Lymphohistiocytosis, Hemophagocytic/chemically induced , Male , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , THP-1 Cells
15.
Clin Appl Thromb Hemost ; 27: 1076029621992128, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1063147

ABSTRACT

Hyperferritinemia is associated with poor outcomes in critically ill patients with sepsis, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), macrophage activation syndromes (MAS) and coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19). Autopsies of hyperferritinemic patients that succumbed to either sepsis, HLH, MAS or COVID-19 have revealed disseminated microvascular thromboses with von Willebrand factor (VWF)-, platelets-, and/or fibrin-rich microthrombi. It is unknown whether high plasma ferritin concentration actively promotes microvascular thrombosis, or merely serves as a prognostic biomarker in these patients. Here, we show that secretion of VWF from human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) is significantly enhanced by 100,000 ng/ml of recombinant ferritin heavy chain protein (FHC). Ferritin fraction that was isolated by size exclusion chromatography from the plasma of critically ill HLH patients promoted VWF secretion from HUVEC, compared to similar fraction from non-critically ill control plasma. Furthermore, recombinant FHC moderately suppressed the activity of VWF cleaving metalloprotease ADAMTS-13. These observations suggest that a state of marked hyperferritinemia could promote thrombosis and organ injury by inducing endothelial VWF secretion and reducing the ADAMTS-13 activity.


Subject(s)
ADAMTS13 Protein/metabolism , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/complications , Ferritins/metabolism , Hyperferritinemia/blood , Hyperferritinemia/complications , von Willebrand Factor/metabolism , ADAMTS13 Protein/antagonists & inhibitors , COVID-19/immunology , Critical Illness , Ferritins/blood , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells , Humans , Lymphohistiocytosis, Hemophagocytic/blood , Lymphohistiocytosis, Hemophagocytic/complications , Oxidoreductases/blood , Oxidoreductases/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/blood , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Thrombosis/blood , Thrombosis/etiology
16.
Cells ; 9(9)2020 09 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-760894

ABSTRACT

All-trans-retinoic acid (atRA) is the essential derivative of vitamin A and is of interest due to its various biological key functions. As shown in the recent literature, atRA also plays a role in the failing heart during myocardial infarction, the leading cause of death globally. To date insufficient mechanistic information has been available on related hypoxia-induced cell damage and reperfusion injuries. However, it has been demonstrated that a reduction in cellular atRA uptake abrogates hypoxia-mediated cell and tissue damage, which may offer a new route for intervention. Consequently, in this study, the effect of the novel cardio-protective compound 5-methoxyleoligin (5ML) on cellular atRA uptake was tested in human umbilical-vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). For this purpose, a high-performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) method was developed to assess intra-cellular levels of the active substance and corresponding levels of vitamin A and its derivatives, including potential cis/trans isomers. This work also focused on light-induced isomerization and the stability of biological sample material to ensure sample integrity and avoid biased conclusions. This study provides evidence of the inhibitory effect of 5ML on cellular atRA uptake, a promising step toward a novel therapy for myocardial infarction.


Subject(s)
Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/drug effects , Oxygen/metabolism , Tretinoin/metabolism , Cell Hypoxia , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Humans , Lignans/pharmacology
17.
Biochem Pharmacol ; 182: 114215, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-743871

ABSTRACT

Inorganic polyphosphate (polyP) is a morphogenetically active and metabolic energy-delivering physiological polymer that is released from blood platelets. Here, we show that polyP efficiently inhibits the binding of the envelope spike (S)-protein of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, to its host cell receptor ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2). To stabilize polyP against the polyP-degrading alkaline phosphatase, the soluble polymer was encapsulated in silica/polyP nanoparticles. Applying a binding assay, soluble Na-polyP (sizes of 40 Pi and of 3 Pi units) as well as silica-nanoparticle-associated polyP significantly inhibit the interaction of the S-protein with ACE2 at a concentration of 1 µg/mL, close to the level present in blood. This inhibition is attributed to an interaction of polyP with a basic amino acid stretch on the surface of the receptor binding domain of S-protein. PolyP retains its activity in a flushing solution, opening a new strategy for the prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the oropharyngeal cavity. The data suggest that supplementation of polyP might contribute to a strengthening of the human innate immunity system in compromised, thrombocytopenic COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/antagonists & inhibitors , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Polyphosphates/pharmacology , Receptors, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , COVID-19/drug therapy , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells , Humans , Models, Molecular , Nanoparticles/therapeutic use , Polyphosphates/chemistry , Protein Binding/drug effects , Receptors, Coronavirus/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
18.
J Mol Cell Cardiol ; 148: 46-49, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-741564

ABSTRACT

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a public health emergency of international concern as more than 15 million cases were reported by 24th July 2020. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a COVID-19 entry receptor regulating host cell infection. A recent study reported that ACE2 is expressed in cardiomyocytes. In this study, we aimed to explore if there are microRNA (miRNA) molecules which target ACE2 and which may be exploited to regulate the SARS-CoV-2 receptor. Our data reveal that both Ace2 mRNA and Ace2 protein levels are inhibited by miR-200c in rat primary cardiomyocytes and importantly, in human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. We report the first miRNA candidate that can target ACE2 in cardiomyocytes and thus may be exploited as a preventive strategy to treat cardiovascular complications of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , MicroRNAs/genetics , Myocardium/metabolism , Myocytes, Cardiac/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Cells, Cultured , Computer Simulation , Fibroblasts/metabolism , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells , Humans , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/cytology , Mice , Myocytes, Cardiac/virology , Rats , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2
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