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2.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(21)2021 Nov 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1502441

ABSTRACT

On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic due to the spread of COVID-19 from Wuhan, China, causing high mortality rates all over the world. The related disease, which mainly affects the lungs, is responsible for the onset of Diffuse Alveolar Damage (DAD) and a hypercoagulability state, frequently leading to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and multiorgan failure, particularly in old and severe-critically ill patients. In order to find effective therapeutic strategies, many efforts have been made aiming to shed light on the pathophysiology of COVID-19 disease. Moreover, following the late advent of vaccination campaigns, the need for the comprehension of the pathophysiology of the fatal, although rare, thrombotic adverse events has become mandatory as well. The achievement of such purposes needs a multidisciplinary approach, depending on a correct interpretation of clinical, biochemical, biomolecular, and forensic findings. In this scenario, autopsies have helped in defining, on both gross and histologic examinations, the main changes to which the affected organs undergo and the role in assessing whether a patient is dead "from" or "with" COVID-19, not to mention whether the existence of a causal link exists between vaccination and thrombotic adverse events. In the present work, we explored the role of postmortem immunohistochemistry, and the increasingly used ancillary technique, in helping to understand the mechanism underlying the pathophysiology of both COVID-19 disease and COVID-19 vaccine-related adverse and rare effects.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , COVID-19/pathology , Thrombosis/etiology , Autopsy , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Cytokines/metabolism , Endothelium/metabolism , Endothelium/pathology , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
3.
Am J Respir Crit Care Med ; 204(9): 1024-1034, 2021 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1495777

ABSTRACT

Rationale: ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2), the entry receptor for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is expressed in type 2 alveolar epithelial cells (AT2) that may play key roles in postinjury repair. An imbalance between ACE2 and ACE has also been hypothesized to contribute to lung injury. Objectives: To characterize the expression and distribution of ACE2 and ACE and to compare AT2 with endothelial cell expression in coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related or -unrelated acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and controls. Methods: Lung tissue stainings (using multiplex immunofluorescence) and serum concentrations of ACEs were determined retrospectively in two different cohorts of patients. AT2 and endothelial cells were stained in lung tissue for ProSPC (pro-surfactant protein C) and CD31, respectively. Measurements and Main Results: Pulmonary ACE2 expression was increased in patients with COVID-19-related and -unrelated ARDS (0.06% of tissue area and 0.12% vs. 0.006% for control subjects; P = 0.013 and P < 0.0001, respectively). ACE2 was upregulated in endothelial cells (0.32% and 0.53% vs. 0.01%; P = 0.009 and P < 0.0001) but not in AT2 cells (0.13% and 0.08% vs. 0.03%; P = 0.94 and P = 0.44). Pulmonary expression of ACE was decreased in both COVID-19-related and -unrelated ARDS (P = 0.057 and P = 0.032). Similar increases in ACE2 and decreases in ACE were observed in sera of COVID-19 (P = 0.0054 and P < 0.0001) and non-COVID-19 ARDS (P < 0.0001 and P = 0.016). In addition, AT2 cells were decreased in patients with COVID-19-related ARDS compared with COVID-19-unrelated ARDS (1.395% vs. 2.94%, P = 0.0033). Conclusions: ACE2 is upregulated in lung tissue and serum of both COVID-19-related and -unrelated ARDS, whereas a loss of AT2 cells is selectively observed in COVID-19-related ARDS.


Subject(s)
Alveolar Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/metabolism , Adult , Aged , Biomarkers/metabolism , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/physiopathology , Case-Control Studies , Female , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , Logistic Models , Male , Middle Aged , Proportional Hazards Models , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/diagnosis , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/virology , Retrospective Studies , Severity of Illness Index , Up-Regulation
4.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(21)2021 Oct 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488609

ABSTRACT

A wide range of neurological manifestations have been associated with the development of COVID-19 following SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, the etiology of the neurological symptomatology is still largely unexplored. Here, we used state-of-the-art multiplexed immunostaining of human brains (n = 6 COVID-19, median age = 69.5 years; n = 7 control, median age = 68 years) and demonstrated that expression of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 is restricted to a subset of neurovascular pericytes. Strikingly, neurological symptoms were exclusive to, and ubiquitous in, patients that exhibited moderate to high ACE2 expression in perivascular cells. Viral dsRNA was identified in the vascular wall and paralleled by perivascular inflammation, as signified by T cell and macrophage infiltration. Furthermore, fibrinogen leakage indicated compromised integrity of the blood-brain barrier. Notably, cerebrospinal fluid from additional 16 individuals (n = 8 COVID-19, median age = 67 years; n = 8 control, median age = 69.5 years) exhibited significantly lower levels of the pericyte marker PDGFRß in SARS-CoV-2-infected cases, indicative of disrupted pericyte homeostasis. We conclude that pericyte infection by SARS-CoV-2 underlies virus entry into the privileged central nervous system space, as well as neurological symptomatology due to perivascular inflammation and a locally compromised blood-brain barrier.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Brain/virology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Encephalitis, Viral/virology , Pericytes/virology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Blood-Brain Barrier , Brain/pathology , COVID-19/etiology , Case-Control Studies , Encephalitis, Viral/pathology , Fibrinogen/metabolism , Humans , Immunohistochemistry/methods , Mice , Pericytes/metabolism , Pericytes/pathology , Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor beta/cerebrospinal fluid
5.
BMJ Case Rep ; 14(10)2021 Oct 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1467679

ABSTRACT

Solitary fibrous tumours (SFTs) are rare mesenchymal tumours that are mostly seen in the pleura. Lately, they have also been described in other locations. Recent discovery of the NAB2-STAT6 fusion gene which is specific for SFTs has led to an accurate diagnosis of SFTs. The occurrence of SFTs in the mesentery is very rarely reported in the literature. We report a case of a 63-year-old female who presented with abdominal pain, rectal bleeding and Fusobacterium bacteraemia, who was ultimately found to have a mesenteric SFT.


Subject(s)
Sepsis , Solitary Fibrous Tumors , Biomarkers, Tumor , Female , Fusobacterium , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , Mesentery , Middle Aged , Repressor Proteins/metabolism , STAT6 Transcription Factor/metabolism , Solitary Fibrous Tumors/complications , Solitary Fibrous Tumors/diagnostic imaging , Solitary Fibrous Tumors/surgery
6.
Cells ; 10(10)2021 10 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1444118

ABSTRACT

The PD-L1/PD-1 immune checkpoint axis is the strongest T cell exhaustion inducer. As immune dysfunction occurs during obesity, we analyzed the impact of obesity on PD-L1/PD-1 expression in white adipose tissue (WAT) in mice and in human white adipocytes. We found that PD-L1 was overexpressed in WAT of diet-induced obese mice and was associated with increased expression of PD-1 in visceral but not subcutaneous WAT. Human in vitro cocultures with adipose-tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ASC) and mononuclear cells demonstrated that the presence of ASC harvested from obese WAT (i) enhanced PD-L1 expression as compared with ASC from lean WAT, (ii) decreased Th1 cell cytokine secretion, and (iii) resulted in decreased cytolytic activity towards adipocytes. Moreover, (iv) the implication of PD-L1 in obese ASC-mediated T cell dysfunction was demonstrated through PD-L1 blockade. Finally, (v) conditioned media gathered from these cocultures enhanced PD-L1 expression in freshly differentiated adipocytes, depending on IFNγ. Altogether, our results suggest that PD-L1 is overexpressed in the WAT of obese individuals during IFNγ secretion, leading to T cell dysfunction and notably reduced cytolytic activity. Such a mechanism could shed light on why adipose-tissue-infiltrating viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2, can worsen disease in obese individuals.


Subject(s)
Adipose Tissue, White/metabolism , B7-H1 Antigen/biosynthesis , Gene Expression Regulation , Mesenchymal Stem Cells/cytology , Obesity/metabolism , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , Cell Differentiation , Coculture Techniques , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , Inflammation , Interferon-gamma/metabolism , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/cytology , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Obesity/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , T-Lymphocytes/cytology
7.
Ophthalmic Res ; 64(5): 785-792, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1443682

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: In December 2019, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic broke out. The virus rapidly spread globally, resulting in a major world public-health crisis. The major disease manifestation occurs in the respiratory tract. However, further studies documented other systemic involvement. This study investigates histopathologic eye changes in postmortem material of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. METHODS: Sections of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded eyes from 5 patients (10 eyes) who died of COVID-19 at the University Hospital in Basel were included. Gross examination and histological evaluation were performed by 3 independent ophthalmopathologists. Immunohistochemical staining was performed using antibodies against fibrin, cleaved caspase 3, and ACE-2. Five enucleated eyes of patients not infected with SARS-CoV-2 served as control group. All cases have been studied for presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA by means of reverse transcription PCR and RNA in situ hybridization (ISH). The choroidal vessels of one case were analyzed with electron microscope. RESULTS: Ophthalmopathologically, 8 eyes from 4 patients displayed swollen endothelial cells in congested choroidal vessels. No further evidence of specific eye involvement of SARS-CoV-2 was found in any of the patients. In the 8 eyes with evidence of changes due to SARS-CoV-2, immunohistochemical staining demonstrated fibrin microthrombi, apoptotic changes of endothelial and inflammatory cells. In control eyes, ACE-2 was detectable in the conjunctiva, cornea, retina, and choroidea and displayed significantly lower amounts of stained cells as in COVID-19 eyes. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detectable in both bulbi of 2/5 patients, yet ISH failed to visualize viruses. Electron microscopy showed no significant results due to the artifacts. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION: As already described in other organs of COVID-19 patients, the ophthalmological examination revealed-microthrombi, that is, hypercoagulation and vasculopathy most probably due to endothelial damage. A possible viral spread to the endothelial cells via ACE-2 provides one pathophysiological explanation. The expression of ACE-2 receptors in the conjunctiva hints toward its susceptibility to infection. To what extend eyes, function is disrupted by SARS-CoV-2 is subject to further studies, especially in the clinic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Choroid Diseases/pathology , Eye Infections, Viral/pathology , RNA, Viral/genetics , Retinal Diseases/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Caspase 3/metabolism , Choroid/blood supply , Choroid/pathology , Choroid Diseases/virology , Ciliary Body/blood supply , Ciliary Body/pathology , Conjunctiva/metabolism , Cornea/metabolism , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Eye Infections, Viral/virology , Female , Fibrin/metabolism , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , In Situ Hybridization , Male , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Retinal Diseases/virology , Retinal Vessels/pathology , Thrombosis/metabolism , Thrombosis/pathology
8.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 19140, 2021 09 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440481

ABSTRACT

Despite the reported low expression of the primary SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 in distinct ocular tissues, some clinical evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 can infect the eye. In this study, we explored potential entry sites for SARS-CoV-2 by viral S protein histochemistry on various ocular tissues and compared the staining patterns with RNA and protein expression of TMPRSS2 and ACE2. Potential viral entry sites were investigated by histochemistry using tagged recombinant viral S protein on 52 ocular tissue samples including specimens of the cornea, conjunctiva, lid margin, lacrimal gland tissue, retina, choroid, and RPE. In addition, ACE2 and TMPRSS2 immunohistochemistry were performed on the same ocular tissue, each with distinct antibodies binding to different epitopes. Lung tissue samples were used as positive controls. Finally, bulk RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) was used to determine the expression of ACE2 and its auxiliary factors in the tissues mentioned above. S protein histochemistry revealed a positive staining in lung tissue but absent staining in the cornea, the conjunctiva, eye lid samples, the lacrimal glands, the retina and the optic nerve which was supported by hardly any immunoreactivity for ACE2 and TMPRSS2 and scarce ACE2 and TMPRSS2 RNA expression. Negligible staining with antibodies targeting ACE2 or TMPRSS2 was seen in the main and accessory lacrimal glands. In contrast, ocular staining (S protein, ACE2, TMPRSS2) was distinctly present in pigmented cells of the RPE and choroid, as well as in the ciliary body and the iris stroma. S protein histochemistry revealed hardly any SARS-CoV-2 entry sites in all ocular tissues examined. Similarly, no significant ACE2 or TMPRSS2 expression was found in extra- and intraocular tissue. While this study suggest a rather low risk of ocular infection with SARS-CoV-2, it should be noted, that potential viral entry sites may increase in response to inflammation or in certain disease states.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Conjunctiva/metabolism , Cornea/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Conjunctiva/virology , Cornea/virology , Gene Expression Profiling/methods , Humans , Immunohistochemistry/methods , RNA-Seq/methods , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Virus Internalization
9.
Viruses ; 13(9)2021 09 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1430983

ABSTRACT

(1) This study aimed to evaluate characteristics, perinatal outcomes, and placental pathology of pregnant women with or without SARS-CoV-2 infection in the context of maternal PCR cycle threshold (CT) values. (2) This was a retrospective case-control study in a third-level health center in Mexico City with universal screening by RT-qPCR. The association of COVID-19 manifestations, preeclampsia, and preterm birth with maternal variables and CT values were assessed by logistic regression models and decision trees. (3) Accordingly, 828 and 298 women had a negative and positive test, respectively. Of those positive, only 2.6% of them presented mild to moderate symptoms. Clinical characteristics between both groups of women were similar. No associations between CT values were found for maternal features, such as pre-gestational BMI, age, and symptomatology. A significantly higher percentage of placental fibrinoid was seen with women with low CTs (<25; p < 0.01). Regarding perinatal outcomes, preeclampsia was found to be significantly associated with symptomatology but not with risk factors or CT values (p < 0.01, aOR = 14.72). Moreover, 88.9% of women diagnosed with COVID-19 at <35 gestational weeks and symptomatic developed preeclampsia. (4) The data support strong guidance for pregnancies with SARS-CoV-2 infection, in particular preeclampsia and placental pathology, which need further investigation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/epidemiology , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adult , Biopsy , COVID-19/diagnosis , Female , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical , Placenta/pathology , Placenta/virology , Polymerase Chain Reaction , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/diagnosis , Pregnancy Outcome , Retrospective Studies , Young Adult
10.
Vet Res ; 52(1): 121, 2021 Sep 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1414142

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic is causing a global crisis. It is still unresolved. Although many therapies and vaccines are being studied, they are still in their infancy. As this pandemic continues, rapid and accurate research for the development of therapies and vaccines is needed. Therefore, it is necessary to understand characteristics of diseases caused by SARS-CoV-2 through animal models. Syrian hamsters are known to be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2. They were intranasally inoculated with SARS-CoV-2. At 2, 4, 8, 12, and 16 days post-infection (dpi), these hamsters were euthanized, and tissues were collected for ultrastructural and microstructural examinations. Microscopic lesions were prominent in the upper and lower respiratory tracts from 2 and 4 dpi groups, respectively. The respiratory epithelium in the trachea, bronchiole, and alveolar showed pathological changes. Inflammatory cells including neutrophils, lymphocytes, macrophages, and eosinophils were infiltrated in/around tracheal lamina propria, pulmonary vessels, alveoli, and bronchiole. In pulmonary lesions, alveolar wall was thickened with infiltrated inflammatory cells, mainly neutrophils and macrophages. In the trachea, epithelial damages started from 2 dpi and recovered from 8 dpi, consistent with microscopic results, High levels of SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein were detected at 2 dpi and 4 dpi. In the lung, lesions were most severe at 8 dpi. Meanwhile, high levels of SARS-CoV-2 were detected at 4 dpi. Electron microscopic examinations revealed cellular changes in the trachea epithelium and alveolar epithelium such as vacuolation, sparse micro-organelle, and poor cellular margin. In the trachea epithelium, the number of cytoplasmic organelles was diminished, and small vesicles were prominent from 2 dpi. Some of these electron-lucent vesicles were filled with virion particles. From 8 dpi, the trachea epithelium started to recover. Because of shrunken nucleus and swollen cytoplasm, the N/C ratio of type 2 pneumocyte decreased at 8 and 12 dpi. From 8 dpi, lamellar bodies on type 2 pneumocyte cytoplasm were increasingly observed. Their number then decreased from 16 dpi. However, there was no significant change in type 1 pneumocyte. Viral vesicles were only observed in the cytoplasm of type 2 pneumocyte. In conclusion, ultra- and micro-structural changes presented in this study may provide useful information for SARS-CoV-2 studies in various fields.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Respiratory System/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Animals , Cricetinae , Immunohistochemistry/veterinary , Male , Mesocricetus , Pilot Projects , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/veterinary , Respiratory System/chemistry , Respiratory System/ultrastructure , Respiratory System/virology , Time Factors , Trachea/pathology , Trachea/ultrastructure , Trachea/virology , Weight Loss
11.
Viruses ; 13(9)2021 09 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1411078

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There is increasing evidence that identification of SARS-CoV-2 virions by transmission electron microscopy could be misleading due to the similar morphology of virions and ubiquitous cell structures. This study thus aimed to establish methods for indisputable proof of the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virions in the observed tissue. METHODS: We developed a variant of the correlative microscopy approach for SARS-CoV-2 protein identification using immunohistochemical labelling of SARS-CoV-2 proteins on light and electron microscopy levels. We also performed immunogold labelling of SARS-CoV-2 virions. RESULTS: Immunohistochemistry (IHC) of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid proteins and subsequent correlative microscopy undoubtedly proved the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virions in the analysed human nasopharyngeal tissue. The presence of SARS-CoV-2 virions was also confirmed by immunogold labelling for the first time. CONCLUSIONS: Immunoelectron microscopy is the most reliable method for distinguishing intracellular viral particles from normal cell structures of similar morphology and size as virions. Furthermore, we developed a variant of correlative microscopy that allows pathologists to check the results of IHC performed first on routinely used paraffin-embedded samples, followed by semithin, and finally by ultrathin sections. Both methodological approaches indisputably proved the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virions in cells.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Virion/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/analysis , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , Microscopy, Immunoelectron , Nasopharynx/virology , Phosphoproteins/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/ultrastructure , Virion/ultrastructure
12.
Pathol Res Pract ; 227: 153610, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1401790

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019(COVID-19) is recognized as systemic inflammatory response syndrome. It was demonstrated that a rapid increase of cytokines in the serum of COVID-19 patients is associated with the severity of disease. However, the mechanisms of the cytokine release are not clear. By using immunofluorescence staining we found that the number of CD11b positive immune cells including macrophages in the spleens of died COVID-19 patients, was significantly higher than that of the control patients. The incidence of apoptosis as measured by two apoptotic markers, TUNEL and cleaved caspase-3, in COVID-19 patients' spleen cells is higher than that in control patients. By double immunostaining CD11b or CD68 and SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, it was found that up to 67% of these immune cells were positive for spike protein, suggesting that viral infection might be associated with apoptosis in these cells. Besides, we also stained the autophagy-related molecules (p-Akt、p62 and BCL-2) in spleen tissues, the results showed that the number of positive cells was significantly higher in COVID-19 group. And compared with non-COVID-19 patients, autophagy may be inhibited in COVID-19 patients. Our research suggest that SARS-CoV-2 may result in a higher rate of apoptosis and a lower rate of autophagy of immune cells in the spleen of COVID-19 patients. These discoveries may increase our understanding of the pathogenesis of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Apoptosis , Autophagy , COVID-19/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spleen/pathology , Antigens, CD/analysis , Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic/analysis , Autopsy , Biomarkers/analysis , CD11b Antigen/analysis , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/virology , Case-Control Studies , Caspase 3/analysis , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , In Situ Nick-End Labeling , Phosphorylation , Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt/analysis , Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sequestosome-1 Protein/analysis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/analysis , Spleen/immunology , Spleen/virology
13.
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci ; 62(7): 6, 2021 06 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388618

ABSTRACT

Purpose: To investigate the expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the receptor for SARS-CoV-2 in human retina. Methods: Human post-mortem eyes from 13 non-diabetic control cases and 11 diabetic retinopathy cases were analyzed for the expression of ACE2. To compare the vascular ACE2 expression between different organs that involve in diabetes, the expression of ACE2 was investigated in renal specimens from nondiabetic and diabetic nephropathy patients. Expression of TMPRSS2, a cell-surface protease that facilitates SARS-CoV-2 entry, was also investigated in human nondiabetic retinas. Primary human retinal endothelial cells (HRECs) and primary human retinal pericytes (HRPCs) were further used to confirm the vascular ACE2 expression in human retina. Results: We found that ACE2 was expressed in multiple nonvascular neuroretinal cells, including the retinal ganglion cell layer, inner plexiform layer, inner nuclear layer, and photoreceptor outer segments in both nondiabetic and diabetic retinopathy specimens. Strikingly, we observed significantly more ACE2 positive vessels in the diabetic retinopathy specimens. By contrast, in another end-stage organ affected by diabetes, the kidney, ACE2 in nondiabetic and diabetic nephropathy showed apical expression of ACE2 tubular epithelial cells, but no endothelial expression in glomerular or peritubular capillaries. Western blot analysis of protein lysates from HRECs and HRPCs confirmed expression of ACE2. TMPRSS2 expression was present in multiple retinal neuronal cells, vascular and perivascular cells, and Müller glia. Conclusions: Together, these results indicate that retina expresses ACE2 and TMPRSS2. Moreover, there are increased vascular ACE2 expression in diabetic retinopathy retinas.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Diabetic Retinopathy/enzymology , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , Retina/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Binding Sites , Blotting, Western , Cells, Cultured , Diabetic Nephropathies/enzymology , Diabetic Nephropathies/pathology , Diabetic Nephropathies/virology , Diabetic Retinopathy/pathology , Diabetic Retinopathy/virology , Endothelium, Vascular/enzymology , Endothelium, Vascular/virology , Female , Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , Male , Middle Aged , Pericytes/enzymology , Pericytes/virology , Retinal Vessels/enzymology , Retinal Vessels/pathology , Retinal Vessels/virology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism
14.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 13533, 2021 06 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387483

ABSTRACT

The host receptor for SARS-CoV-2, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), is highly expressed in small intestine. Our aim was to study colonic ACE2 expression in Crohn's disease (CD) and non-inflammatory bowel disease (non-IBD) controls. We hypothesized that the colonic expression levels of ACE2 impacts CD course. We examined the expression of colonic ACE2 in 67 adult CD and 14 NIBD control patients using RNA-seq and quantitative (q) RT-PCR. We validated ACE2 protein expression and localization in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded matched colon and ileal tissues using immunohistochemistry. The impact of increased ACE2 expression in CD for the risk of surgery was evaluated by a multivariate regression analysis and a Kaplan-Meier estimator. To provide critical support for the generality of our findings, we analyzed previously published RNA-seq data from two large independent cohorts of CD patients. Colonic ACE2 expression was significantly higher in a subset of adult CD patients which was defined as the ACE2-high CD subset. IHC in a sampling of ACE2-high CD patients confirmed high ACE2 protein expression in the colon and ileum compared to ACE2-low CD and NIBD patients. Notably, we found that ACE2-high CD patients are significantly more likely to undergo surgery within 5 years of CD diagnosis, and a Cox regression analysis found that high ACE2 levels is an independent risk factor for surgery (OR 2.17; 95% CI, 1.10-4.26; p = 0.025). Increased intestinal expression of ACE2 is associated with deteriorated clinical outcomes in CD patients. These data point to the need for molecular stratification that can impact CD disease-related outcomes.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Crohn Disease/pathology , Adolescent , Adult , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Crohn Disease/metabolism , Crohn Disease/surgery , Female , Humans , Ileum/metabolism , Ileum/pathology , Immunohistochemistry , Inflammatory Bowel Diseases/metabolism , Inflammatory Bowel Diseases/pathology , Male , Prognosis , Proportional Hazards Models , RNA, Messenger/chemistry , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Risk Factors , Sequence Analysis, RNA , Young Adult
15.
J Assist Reprod Genet ; 37(11): 2657-2660, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1384515

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: To visualize SARS-CoV-2 host receptors ACE2 and CD147 on human oocytes and blastocysts. METHODS: Immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy on human primary oocytes and pre (5 days post fertilization (dpf5) and (dpf6))- and peri (dpf7)-implantation blastocysts donated to research. RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 host receptors ACE2 and CD147 are present on the membrane of trophectoderm, epiblast and hypoblast cells in human blastocysts. CD147 is also present on the oolemma. CONCLUSION: Theoretically, the earliest stages of embryonic development may be vulnerable for SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Basigin/metabolism , Blastocyst/metabolism , Oocytes/metabolism , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Female , Humans , Immunohistochemistry
16.
Cardiovasc Res ; 117(1): 224-239, 2021 01 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387842

ABSTRACT

AIMS: To elucidate the prognostic role of monocytes in the immune response of patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) at risk for life-threatening heart and lung injury as major complications of SARS-CoV-2 infection. METHODS AND RESULTS: From February to April 2020, we prospectively studied a cohort of 96 participants comprising 47 consecutive patients with CAD and acute SARS-CoV-2 infection (CAD + SARS-CoV-2), 19 CAD patients without infections, and 30 healthy controls. Clinical assessment included blood sampling, echocardiography, and electrocardiography within 12 h of admission. Respiratory failure was stratified by the Horovitz Index (HI) as moderately/severely impaired when HI ≤200 mmHg. The clinical endpoint (EP) was defined as HI ≤200 mmHg with subsequent mechanical ventilation within a follow-up of 30 days. The numbers of CD14dimCD16+ non-classical monocytes in peripheral blood were remarkably low in CAD + SARS-CoV-2 compared with CAD patients without infection and healthy controls (P < 0.0001). Moreover, these CD14dimCD16 monocytes showed decreased expression of established markers of adhesion, migration, and T-cell activation (CD54, CD62L, CX3CR1, CD80, and HLA-DR). Decreased numbers of CD14dimCD16+ monocytes were associated with the occurrence of EP. Kaplan-Meier curves illustrate that CAD + SARS-CoV-2 patients with numbers below the median of CD14dimCD16+ monocytes (median 1443 cells/mL) reached EP significantly more often compared to patients with numbers above the median (log-rank 5.03, P = 0.025). CONCLUSION: Decreased numbers of CD14dimCD16+ monocytes are associated with rapidly progressive respiratory failure in CAD + SARS-CoV-2 patients. Intensified risk assessments comprising monocyte sub- and phenotypes may help to identify patients at risk for respiratory failure.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , Coronary Artery Disease/complications , Lipopolysaccharide Receptors/analysis , Monocytes/physiology , Receptors, IgG/analysis , SARS-CoV-2 , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/immunology , Coronary Artery Disease/immunology , Female , GPI-Linked Proteins/analysis , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , Male , Middle Aged , Monocytes/immunology , Phenotype , Retrospective Studies
17.
Viruses ; 13(9)2021 08 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1374535

ABSTRACT

Infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the global COVID-19 pandemic, causes a respiratory illness that can severely impact other organ systems and is possibly precipitated by cytokine storm, septic shock, thrombosis, and oxidative stress. SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals may be asymptomatic or may experience mild, moderate, or severe symptoms with or without pneumonia. The mechanisms by which SARS-CoV-2 infects humans are largely unknown. Mouse hepatitis virus 1 (MHV-1)-induced infection was used as a highly relevant surrogate animal model for this study. We further characterized this animal model and compared it with SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans. MHV-1 inoculated mice displayed death as well as weight loss, as reported earlier. We showed that MHV-1-infected mice at days 7-8 exhibit severe lung inflammation, peribronchiolar interstitial infiltration, bronchiolar epithelial cell necrosis and intra-alveolar necrotic debris, alveolar exudation (surrounding alveolar walls have capillaries that are dilated and filled with red blood cells), mononuclear cell infiltration, hyaline membrane formation, the presence of hemosiderin-laden macrophages, and interstitial edema. When compared to uninfected mice, the infected mice showed severe liver vascular congestion, luminal thrombosis of portal and sinusoidal vessels, hepatocyte degeneration, cell necrosis, and hemorrhagic changes. Proximal and distal tubular necrosis, hemorrhage in interstitial tissue, and the vacuolation of renal tubules were observed. The heart showed severe interstitial edema, vascular congestion, and dilation, as well as red blood cell extravasation into the interstitium. Upon examination of the MHV-1 infected mice brain, we observed congested blood vessels, perivascular cavitation, cortical pericellular halos, vacuolation of neuropils, darkly stained nuclei, pyknotic nuclei, and associated vacuolation of the neuropil in the cortex, as well as acute eosinophilic necrosis and necrotic neurons with fragmented nuclei and vacuolation in the hippocampus. Our findings suggest that the widespread thrombotic events observed in the surrogate animal model for SARS-CoV-2 mimic the reported findings in SARS-CoV-2 infected humans, representing a highly relevant and safe animal model for the study of the pathophysiologic mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 for potential therapeutic interventions.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Murine hepatitis virus/physiology , Animals , Biomarkers , Biopsy , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Infections/mortality , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Genome, Viral , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , Liver Function Tests , Mice , Mortality , Organ Specificity , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Load
18.
Inflamm Res ; 70(10-12): 1165-1175, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1372784

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Junctional proteins are the most important component of the blood-testis barrier and maintaining the integrity of this barrier is essential for spermatogenesis and male fertility. The present study elucidated the effect of SARS-CoV-2 infection on the blood-testis barrier (BTB) in patients who died from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (COVID-19) complications. METHODS: In this study, lung and testis tissue was collected from autopsies of COVID-19 positive (n = 10) and negative men (n = 10) and was taken for stereology, immunocytochemistry, and RNA extraction. RESULTS: Evaluation of the lung tissue showed that the SARS-CoV-2 infection caused extensive damage to the lung tissue and also increases inflammation in testicular tissue and destruction of the testicular blood barrier. Autopsied testicular specimens of COVID-19 showed that COVID-19 infection significantly changes the spatial arrangement of testicular cells and notably decreased the number of Sertoli cells. Moreover, the immunohistochemistry results showed a significant reduction in the protein expression of occluding, claudin-11, and connexin-43 in the COVID-19 group. In addition, we also observed a remarkable enhancement in protein expression of CD68 in the testes of the COVID-19 group in comparison with the control group. Furthermore, the result showed that the expression of TNF-α, IL1ß, and IL6 was significantly increased in COVID-19 cases as well as the expression of occludin, claudin-11, and connexin-43 was decreased in COVID-19 cases. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the present study demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 could induce the up-regulation of the pro-inflammatory cytokine and down-regulation of junctional proteins of the BTB, which can disrupt BTB and ultimately impair spermatogenesis.


Subject(s)
Blood-Testis Barrier/pathology , COVID-19/pathology , Cytokines/metabolism , Autopsy , Claudins/metabolism , Connexin 43/metabolism , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , Interleukin-1beta/metabolism , Interleukin-6/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Male , Middle Aged , Occludin/metabolism , RNA, Viral/analysis , Sertoli Cells/pathology , Testis/pathology , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/metabolism
19.
Int J Biol Sci ; 17(11): 2957-2969, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1341900

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 invades host cells mainly through the interaction of its spike-protein with host cell membrane ACE2. Various antibodies targeting S-protein have been developed to combat COVID-19 pandemic; however, the potential risk of antibody-dependent enhancement and novel spike mutants-induced neutralization loss or antibody resistance still remain. Alternative preventative agents or therapeutics are still urgently needed. In this study, we designed series of peptides with either ACE2 protecting or Spike-protein neutralizing activities. Molecular docking predicted that, among these peptides, ACE2 protecting peptide AYp28 and Spike-protein neutralizing peptide AYn1 showed strongest intermolecular interaction to ACE2 and Spike-protein, respectively, which were further confirmed by both cell- and non-cell-based in vitro assays. In addition, both peptides inhibited the invasion of pseudotype SARS-CoV-2 into HEK293T/hACE2 cells, either alone or in combination. Moreover, the intranasal administration of AYp28 could partially block pseudovirus invasion in hACE2 transgenic mice. Much more importantly, no significant toxicity was observed in peptides-treated cells. AYp28 showed no impacts on ACE2 function. Taken together, the data from our present study predicted promising preventative and therapeutic values of peptides against COVID-19, and may prove the concept that cocktail containing ACE2 protecting peptides and spike neutralizing peptides could serve as a safe and effective approach for SARS-CoV-2 prevention and therapy.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , Mice , Mice, Transgenic
20.
Dis Markers ; 2021: 5566826, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1341351

ABSTRACT

An excess formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), previously shown to be strongly associated with cytokine storm and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) with prevalent endothelial dysfunction and thrombosis, has been postulated to be a central factor influencing the pathophysiology and clinical presentation of severe COVID-19. A growing number of serological and morphological evidence has added to this assumption, also in regard to potential treatment options. In this study, we used immunohistochemistry and histochemistry to trace NETs and their molecular markers in autopsy lung tissue from seven COVID-19 patients. Quantification of key immunomorphological features enabled comparison with non-COVID-19 diffuse alveolar damage. Our results strengthen and extend recent findings, confirming that NETs are abundantly present in seriously damaged COVID-19 lung tissue, especially in association with microthrombi of the alveolar capillaries. In addition, we provide evidence that low-density neutrophils (LDNs), which are especially prone to NETosis, contribute substantially to COVID-19-associated lung damage in general and vascular blockages in particular.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Extracellular Traps , Lung Injury/pathology , Neutrophils/pathology , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antigens, CD/metabolism , Autopsy , Cell Adhesion Molecules/metabolism , Extracellular Traps/virology , Female , GPI-Linked Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Lung Injury/virology , Male , Neutrophils/metabolism , Neutrophils/virology , Peroxidase/metabolism
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