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1.
Nat Neurosci ; 24(11): 1522-1533, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1500484

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can damage cerebral small vessels and cause neurological symptoms. Here we describe structural changes in cerebral small vessels of patients with COVID-19 and elucidate potential mechanisms underlying the vascular pathology. In brains of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-infected individuals and animal models, we found an increased number of empty basement membrane tubes, so-called string vessels representing remnants of lost capillaries. We obtained evidence that brain endothelial cells are infected and that the main protease of SARS-CoV-2 (Mpro) cleaves NEMO, the essential modulator of nuclear factor-κB. By ablating NEMO, Mpro induces the death of human brain endothelial cells and the occurrence of string vessels in mice. Deletion of receptor-interacting protein kinase (RIPK) 3, a mediator of regulated cell death, blocks the vessel rarefaction and disruption of the blood-brain barrier due to NEMO ablation. Importantly, a pharmacological inhibitor of RIPK signaling prevented the Mpro-induced microvascular pathology. Our data suggest RIPK as a potential therapeutic target to treat the neuropathology of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Blood-Brain Barrier/metabolism , Brain/metabolism , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/metabolism , Microvessels/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Animals , Blood-Brain Barrier/pathology , Brain/pathology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/genetics , Cricetinae , Female , Humans , Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/genetics , Male , Mesocricetus , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Knockout , Mice, Transgenic , Microvessels/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vero Cells
2.
Nat Neurosci ; 24(11): 1522-1533, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1483143

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can damage cerebral small vessels and cause neurological symptoms. Here we describe structural changes in cerebral small vessels of patients with COVID-19 and elucidate potential mechanisms underlying the vascular pathology. In brains of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-infected individuals and animal models, we found an increased number of empty basement membrane tubes, so-called string vessels representing remnants of lost capillaries. We obtained evidence that brain endothelial cells are infected and that the main protease of SARS-CoV-2 (Mpro) cleaves NEMO, the essential modulator of nuclear factor-κB. By ablating NEMO, Mpro induces the death of human brain endothelial cells and the occurrence of string vessels in mice. Deletion of receptor-interacting protein kinase (RIPK) 3, a mediator of regulated cell death, blocks the vessel rarefaction and disruption of the blood-brain barrier due to NEMO ablation. Importantly, a pharmacological inhibitor of RIPK signaling prevented the Mpro-induced microvascular pathology. Our data suggest RIPK as a potential therapeutic target to treat the neuropathology of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Blood-Brain Barrier/metabolism , Brain/metabolism , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/metabolism , Microvessels/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Animals , Blood-Brain Barrier/pathology , Brain/pathology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/genetics , Cricetinae , Female , Humans , Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/genetics , Male , Mesocricetus , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Knockout , Mice, Transgenic , Microvessels/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vero Cells
3.
Med Sci Monit ; 27: e930776, 2021 Oct 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1344551

ABSTRACT

During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic due to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, patients presented with COVID-19 pneumonia of varying severity. The phenomenon of severe hypoxemia without signs of respiratory distress is also known as silent or hidden hypoxemia. Although silent hypoxemia is not unique to pneumonia due to SARS-CoV-2 infection, this phenomenon is now recognized to be associated with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Proper management of critically ill patients is the key to reducing mortality. Herein, we summarize the possible and rare factors contributing to silent hypoxemia in patients with COVID-19. Microvascular thrombosis causes dead space ventilation in the lungs, and the flow of pulmonary capillaries is reduced, which leads to an imbalance in the V/Q ratio. The dissociation curve of oxyhemoglobin shifts to the left and limits the release of oxygen to the tissue. SARS-CoV-2 interferes with the synthesis of hemoglobin and reduces the ability to carry oxygen. The accumulation of endogenous carbon monoxide and carboxyhemoglobin will reduce the total oxygen carrying capacity and interfere with pulse oxygen saturation readings. There are also some non-specific factors that cause the difference between pulse oximetry and oxygen partial pressure. We propose some potentially more effective clinical alternatives and recommendations for optimizing the clinical management processes of patients with COVID-19. This review aims to describe the prevalence of silent hypoxemia in COVID-19 pneumonia, to provide an update on what is known of the pathophysiology, and to highlight the importance of diagnosing silent hypoxemia in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Hypoxia/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Asymptomatic Diseases/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Hypoxia/epidemiology , Hypoxia/metabolism , Lung/cytology , Lung/metabolism , Lung/virology , Microvessels/metabolism , Oximetry , Oxygen/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Thrombosis/metabolism , Thrombosis/virology
4.
Cell Metab ; 32(6): 1028-1040.e4, 2020 12 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1310646

ABSTRACT

Isolated reports of new-onset diabetes in individuals with COVID-19 have led to the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 is directly cytotoxic to pancreatic islet ß cells. This would require binding and entry of SARS-CoV-2 into ß cells via co-expression of its canonical cell entry factors, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2); however, their expression in human pancreas has not been clearly defined. We analyzed six transcriptional datasets of primary human islet cells and found that ACE2 and TMPRSS2 were not co-expressed in single ß cells. In pancreatic sections, ACE2 and TMPRSS2 protein was not detected in ß cells from donors with and without diabetes. Instead, ACE2 protein was expressed in islet and exocrine tissue microvasculature and in a subset of pancreatic ducts, whereas TMPRSS2 protein was restricted to ductal cells. These findings reduce the likelihood that SARS-CoV-2 directly infects ß cells in vivo through ACE2 and TMPRSS2.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Diabetes Mellitus/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Virus Internalization , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/analysis , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/genetics , Cells, Cultured , Diabetes Complications/genetics , Diabetes Complications/metabolism , Diabetes Mellitus/genetics , Gene Expression , Humans , Insulin-Secreting Cells/metabolism , Mice , Microvessels/metabolism , Pancreas/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/analysis , RNA, Messenger/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/analysis , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics
5.
Tissue Barriers ; 9(4): 1937013, 2021 10 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1298924

ABSTRACT

Blood-gas barrier (BGB) or alveolar-capillary barrier is the primary tissue barrier affected by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Comprising alveolar epithelial cells (AECs), endothelial cells (ECs) and the extracellular matrix (ECM) in between, the BGB is damaged following the action of multiple pro-inflammatory cytokines during acute inflammation. The infection of AECs and ECs with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the pathogen behind COVID-19, triggers an inflammatory response at the BGB, inducing the release of interleukin 1 (IL-1), IL-6, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), transforming growth factor beta (TGF-ß), high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and platelet activating factor (PAF). The end result is the disassembly of adherens junctions (AJs) and tight junctions (TJs) in both AECs and ECs, AEC hyperplasia, EC pyroptosis, ECM remodeling and deposition of fibrin clots in the alveolar capillaries, leading to disintegration and thickening of the BGB, and ultimately, hypoxia. This commentary seeks to provide a brief account of how the BGB might become affected in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Blood-Air Barrier/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Pulmonary Gas Exchange , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/pathology , Blood-Air Barrier/pathology , COVID-19/pathology , Humans , Microvessels/metabolism , Microvessels/pathology
6.
Pharmacol Res ; 168: 105581, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1157664

ABSTRACT

In-depth characterization of heart-brain communication in critically ill patients with severe acute respiratory failure is attracting significant interest in the COronaVIrus Disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic era during intensive care unit (ICU) stay and after ICU or hospital discharge. Emerging research has provided new insights into pathogenic role of the deregulation of the heart-brain axis (HBA), a bidirectional flow of information, in leading to severe multiorgan disease syndrome (MODS) in patients with confirmed infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Noteworthy, HBA dysfunction may worsen the outcome of the COVID-19 patients. In this review, we discuss the critical role HBA plays in both promoting and limiting MODS in COVID-19. We also highlight the role of HBA as new target for novel therapeutic strategies in COVID-19 in order to open new translational frontiers of care. This is a translational perspective from the Italian Society of Cardiovascular Researches.


Subject(s)
Brain Diseases/therapy , Brain/drug effects , COVID-19/therapy , Heart Diseases/therapy , Heart/drug effects , Adrenal Cortex Hormones/administration & dosage , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/administration & dosage , Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , Brain/immunology , Brain/metabolism , Brain Diseases/immunology , Brain Diseases/metabolism , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/metabolism , Critical Care/methods , Critical Illness/therapy , Dietary Supplements , Functional Food , Heart Diseases/immunology , Heart Diseases/metabolism , Humans , Inflammation Mediators/antagonists & inhibitors , Inflammation Mediators/immunology , Inflammation Mediators/metabolism , Microvessels/drug effects , Microvessels/immunology , Microvessels/metabolism , Multiple Organ Failure/immunology , Multiple Organ Failure/metabolism , Multiple Organ Failure/therapy , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism
7.
Physiol Rep ; 9(5): e14796, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1120167

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), continues to be a world-wide pandemic with overwhelming socioeconomic impact. Since inflammation is one of the major causes of COVID-19 complications, the associated molecular mechanisms have been the focus of many studies to better understand this disease and develop improved treatments for patients contracting SARS-CoV-2. Among these, strong emphasis has been placed on pro-inflammatory cytokines, associating severity of COVID-19 with so-called "cytokine storm." More recently, peptide bradykinin, its dysregulated signaling or "bradykinin storm," has emerged as a primary mechanism to explain COVID-19-related complications. Unfortunately, this important development may not fully capture the main molecular players that underlie the disease severity. To this end, in this focused review, several lines of evidence are provided to suggest that in addition to bradykinin, two closely related vasoactive peptides, substance P and neurotensin, are also likely to drive microvascular permeability and inflammation, and be responsible for development of COVID-19 pathology. Furthermore, based on published experimental observations, it is postulated that in addition to ACE and neprilysin, peptidase neurolysin (Nln) is also likely to contribute to accumulation of bradykinin, substance P and neurotensin, and progression of the disease. In conclusion, it is proposed that "vasoactive peptide storm" may underlie severity of COVID-19 and that simultaneous inhibition of all three peptidergic systems could be therapeutically more advantageous rather than modulation of any single mechanism alone.


Subject(s)
Bradykinin/metabolism , COVID-19/complications , Neprilysin/metabolism , Neurotensin/metabolism , Substance P/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Cytokines/metabolism , Humans , Microvessels/metabolism , Microvessels/pathology
8.
Scand J Immunol ; 93(6): e13024, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1091011

ABSTRACT

Early airway responses to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection are of interest since they could decide whether coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) will proceed to life-threatening pulmonary disease stages. Here I discuss endothelial-epithelial co-operative in vivo responses producing first-line, humoral innate defence opportunities in human airways. The pseudostratified epithelium of human nasal and tracheobronchial airways are prime sites of exposure and infection by SARS-CoV-2. Just beneath the epithelium runs a profuse systemic microcirculation. Its post-capillary venules respond conspicuously to mucosal challenges with autacoids, allergens and microbes, and to mere loss of epithelium. By active venular endothelial gap formation, followed by transient yielding of epithelial junctions, non-sieved plasma macromolecules move from the microcirculation to the mucosal surface. Hence, plasma-derived protein cascade systems and antimicrobial peptides would have opportunity to operate jointly on an unperturbed mucosal lining. Similarly, a plasma-derived, dynamic gel protects sites of epithelial sloughing-regeneration. Precision for this indiscriminate humoral molecular response lies in restricted location and well-regulated duration of plasma exudation. Importantly, the endothelial responsiveness of the airway microcirculation differs distinctly from the relatively non-responsive, low-pressure pulmonary microcirculation that non-specifically, almost irreversibly, leaks plasma in life-threatening COVID-19. Observations in humans of infections with rhinovirus, coronavirus 229E, and influenza A and B support a general but individually variable early occurrence of plasma exudation in human infected nasal and tracheobronchial airways. Investigations are warranted to elucidate roles of host- and drug-induced airway plasma exudation in restriction of viral infection and, specifically, whether it contributes to variable disease responses following exposure to SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Immunity, Humoral , Respiratory Mucosa/immunology , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Biomarkers/blood , Blood Proteins , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/metabolism , Capillary Permeability/immunology , Complement Activation/immunology , Complement System Proteins/immunology , Complement System Proteins/metabolism , Exudates and Transudates , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , Microvessels/immunology , Microvessels/metabolism , Respiratory Mucosa/metabolism
9.
Physiol Rep ; 9(3): e14726, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1058653

ABSTRACT

Corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) causes symptoms from multiple organs after infection by severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 (SARS CoV-2). They range from early, low blood oxygen levels (hypoxemia) without breathlessness ("silent hypoxia"), delirium, rashes, and loss of smell (anosmia), to persisting chest pain, muscle weakness and -pain, fatigue, confusion, memory problems and difficulty to concentrate ("brain fog"), mood changes, and unexpected onset of hypertension or diabetes. SARS CoV-2 affects the microcirculation, causing endothelial cell swelling and damage (endotheliitis), microscopic blood clots (microthrombosis), capillary congestion, and damage to pericytes that are integral to capillary integrity and barrier function, tissue repair (angiogenesis), and scar formation. Similar to other instances of critical illness, COVID-19 is also associated with elevated cytokine levels in the systemic circulation. This review examines how capillary damage and inflammation may contribute to these acute and persisting COVID-19 symptoms by interfering with blood and tissue oxygenation and with brain function. Undetectable by current diagnostic methods, capillary flow disturbances limit oxygen diffusion exchange in lungs and tissue and may therefore cause hypoxemia and tissue hypoxia. The review analyzes the combined effects of COVID-19-related capillary damage, pre-existing microvascular changes, and upstream vascular tone on tissue oxygenation in key organs. It identifies a vicious cycle, as infection- and hypoxia-related inflammation cause capillary function to deteriorate, which in turn accelerates hypoxia-related inflammation and tissue damage. Finally, the review addresses the effects of low oxygen and high cytokine levels in brain tissue on neurotransmitter synthesis and mood. Methods to assess capillary functions in human organs and therapeutic means to protect capillary functions and stimulate capillary bed repair may prove important for the individualized management of COVID-19 patients and targeted rehabilitation strategies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , Microvessels/pathology , Oxygen Consumption , Oxygen/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Humans , Inflammation , Microvessels/metabolism , Microvessels/virology , Oxygen/blood , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
10.
Front Endocrinol (Lausanne) ; 11: 596898, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1011403

ABSTRACT

Increasing evidence demonstrated that the expression of Angiotensin I-Converting Enzyme type 2 (ACE2) is a necessary step for SARS-CoV-2 infection permissiveness. In light of the recent data highlighting an association between COVID-19 and diabetes, a detailed analysis aimed at evaluating ACE2 expression pattern distribution in human pancreas is still lacking. Here, we took advantage of INNODIA network EUnPOD biobank collection to thoroughly analyze ACE2, both at mRNA and protein level, in multiple human pancreatic tissues and using several methodologies. Using multiple reagents and antibodies, we showed that ACE2 is expressed in human pancreatic islets, where it is preferentially expressed in subsets of insulin producing ß-cells. ACE2 is also highly expressed in pancreas microvasculature pericytes and moderately expressed in rare scattered ductal cells. By using different ACE2 antibodies we showed that a recently described short-ACE2 isoform is also prevalently expressed in human ß-cells. Finally, using RT-qPCR, RNA-seq and High-Content imaging screening analysis, we demonstrated that pro-inflammatory cytokines, but not palmitate, increase ACE2 expression in the ß-cell line EndoC-ßH1 and in primary human pancreatic islets. Taken together, our data indicate a potential link between SARS-CoV-2 and diabetes through putative infection of pancreatic microvasculature and/or ductal cells and/or through direct ß-cell virus tropism.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Insulin-Secreting Cells/metabolism , Microvessels/metabolism , Pancreas/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Cells, Cultured , Cytokines/metabolism , Humans , Insulin-Secreting Cells/virology , Microvessels/virology , Pancreas/virology
11.
Curr Neurovasc Res ; 17(5): 784-792, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-999945

ABSTRACT

A pericyte-centered theory suggesting that embolisms occurring within the microvasculature of a neurovascular unit that can result in either parenchymal hemorrhage or intravascular congestion is presented here. Dysfunctional microvascular pericytes are characterized by their location in the neurovascular unit, either on the arteriole or venule side. Pathophysiological and pathological changes caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) include pulmonary hypertension, edema, focal hemorrhage, microvascular congestion, and thrombosis. In this paper, the application of the pericytes-centered hypothesis to COVID-19 has been presented by proposing the concept of a pulmonary neurovascular unit (pNVU). The application of this concept implies that human lungs contain approximately 300 million pNVUs. This concept of existing local regulation of microvascular blood flow is supported by the observation of pathophysiology in pulmonary embolism and in acute high-altitude illness. The autonomic control seen in these three disease states matches blood flow with oxygen supply in each pNVU to maintain physiological blood oxygen saturation level. This paper illustrates how the malfunction of microvascular pericytes may cause focal hemorrhage, edema or microvascular congestion and thrombosis. A bypass existing in each pNVU would autonomically deviate blood flow from a COVID-19-affected pNVU to other healthy pNVUs. This action would prevent systemically applied medicines from reaching the therapeutic threshold in COVID-19-affected pNVUs. While testing this hypothesis with experimental evidence is urgently needed, supporting therapy aimed at improving microcirculation or rebuilding the physiological function of microvascular pericytes is recommended as a potentially effective treatment of COVID 19.


Subject(s)
Blood-Brain Barrier/metabolism , Brain/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Neurovascular Coupling/physiology , Pericytes/metabolism , Animals , Blood-Brain Barrier/pathology , Brain/pathology , COVID-19/pathology , Humans , Microcirculation/physiology , Microvessels/metabolism , Microvessels/pathology , Pericytes/pathology
12.
Ann Diagn Pathol ; 51: 151682, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-987026

ABSTRACT

Neurologic complications of symptomatic COVID-19 are common. Brain tissues from 13 autopsies of people who died of COVID-19 were examined. Cultured endothelial and neuronal cells were incubated with and wild type mice were injected IV with different spike subunits. In situ analyses were used to detect SARS-CoV-2 proteins and the host response. In 13/13 brains from fatal COVID-19, pseudovirions (spike, envelope, and membrane proteins without viral RNA) were present in the endothelia of microvessels ranging from 0 to 14 positive cells/200× field (mean 4.3). The pseudovirions strongly co-localized with caspase-3, ACE2, IL6, TNFα, and C5b-9. The surrounding neurons demonstrated increased NMDAR2 and neuronal NOS plus decreased MFSD2a and SHIP1 proteins. Tail vein injection of the full length S1 spike subunit in mice led to neurologic signs (increased thirst, stressed behavior) not evident in those injected with the S2 subunit. The S1 subunit localized to the endothelia of microvessels in the mice brain and showed co-localization with caspase-3, ACE2, IL6, TNFα, and C5b-9. The surrounding neurons showed increased neuronal NOS and decreased MFSD2a. It is concluded that ACE2+ endothelial damage is a central part of SARS-CoV2 pathology and may be induced by the spike protein alone. Thus, the diagnostic pathologist can use either hematoxylin and eosin stain or immunohistochemistry for caspase 3 and ACE2 to document the endothelial cell damage of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Endothelial Cells/virology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Animals , Autopsy/methods , Disease Models, Animal , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Female , Humans , Male , Mice , Microvessels/metabolism , Microvessels/virology , Middle Aged , Protein Subunits/metabolism , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
13.
Hum Pathol ; 106: 106-116, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-927637

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to examine the deltoid skin biopsy in twenty-three patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), most severely ill, for vascular complement deposition and correlate this with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) viral RNA and protein localization and ACE2 expression. Deltoid skin microvascular complement screening has been applied to patients with various systemic complement-mediated microvascular syndromes, best exemplified by atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome. In 21 of 23 cases, substantial microvascular deposition of complement components was identified. The two patients without significant complement deposition included one patient with moderate disease and a severely ill patient who although on a ventilator for a day was discharged after 3 days. The dominant microvascular complement immunoreactant identified was the terminal membranolytic attack complex C5b-9. Microvascular complement deposition strongly colocalized in situ with the SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins including spike glycoproteins in the endothelial cells as well as the viral receptor ACE2 in lesional and nonlesional skin; viral RNA was not evident. Microvascular SARS-CoV-2 viral protein, complement, and ACE2 expression was most conspicuous in the subcutaneous fat. Although the samples from severely ill patients with COVID-19 were from grossly normal skin, light microscopically focal microvascular abnormalities were evident that included endothelial cell denudement, basement membrane zone reduplication, and small thrombi. It is concluded that complement activation is common in grossly normal skin, especially in the subcutaneous fat which may provide a link between severe disease and obesity, in people with severe COVID-19, and the strong colocalization with the ACE2 receptor and viral capsid proteins without viral RNA suggests that circulating viral proteins (ie, pseudovirions) may dock onto the endothelial of these microvessels and induce complement activation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Endothelial Cells/virology , Microvessels/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Adult , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Complement Activation/immunology , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Female , Humans , Male , Microvessels/metabolism , Middle Aged , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , RNA, Viral/genetics
14.
Int J Cardiol ; 326: 243-247, 2021 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-917306

ABSTRACT

We concisely review clinical, autopsy, experimental and molecular data of 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 disruption and thromboinflammatory microangiopathy emerge as distinctive features. Briefly, entry of the virus into microvessels can profoundly disrupt the local renin-angiotensin system, cause endothelial injury, activate the complement cascade and induce powerful thromboinflammatory reactions, involving, in particular, von Willebrand factor, that, if widespread, may lead to microvascular plugging, ischemia and, ultimately, organ failure. We believe the current COVID-19 data consolidate a widely unrecognised paradigm of potentially fatal thromboinflammatory microvascular disease.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Inflammation Mediators/metabolism , Microvessels/metabolism , Thrombosis/metabolism , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Microvessels/pathology , Renin-Angiotensin System/physiology , Thrombosis/diagnosis , Thrombosis/epidemiology
15.
Heart Lung Circ ; 29(11): 1596-1602, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-739826

ABSTRACT

The recently described severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has infected millions of people, with thousands of fatalities. It has prompted global efforts in research, with focus on the pathophysiology of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), and a rapid surge of publications. COVID-19 has been associated with a myriad of clinical manifestations, including the lungs, heart, kidneys, central nervous system, gastrointestinal system, skin, and blood coagulation abnormalities. The endothelium plays a key role in organ dysfunction associated with severe infection, and current data suggest that it is also involved in SARS-CoV-2-induced sepsis. This critical review aimed to address a possible unifying mechanism underlying the diverse complications of COVID-19: microvascular dysfunction, with emphasis on the renin-angiotensin system. In addition, research perspectives are suggested in order to expand understanding of the pathophysiology of the infection.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections , Microvessels , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Renin-Angiotensin System/physiology , Betacoronavirus/physiology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/physiopathology , Humans , Microvessels/metabolism , Microvessels/physiopathology , Microvessels/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/physiopathology , SARS-CoV-2
16.
EBioMedicine ; 58: 102925, 2020 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-701831

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus induced disease 2019 (COVID-19) can be complicated by severe organ damage leading to dysfunction of the lungs and other organs. The processes that trigger organ damage in COVID-19 are incompletely understood. METHODS: Samples were donated from hospitalized patients. Sera, plasma, and autopsy-derived tissue sections were examined employing flow cytometry, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, and immunohistochemistry. PATIENT FINDINGS: Here, we show that severe COVID-19 is characterized by a highly pronounced formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) inside the micro-vessels. Intravascular aggregation of NETs leads to rapid occlusion of the affected vessels, disturbed microcirculation, and organ damage. In severe COVID-19, neutrophil granulocytes are strongly activated and adopt a so-called low-density phenotype, prone to spontaneously form NETs. In accordance, markers indicating NET turnover are consistently increased in COVID-19 and linked to disease severity. Histopathology of the lungs and other organs from COVID-19 patients showed congestions of numerous micro-vessels by aggregated NETs associated with endothelial damage. INTERPRETATION: These data suggest that organ dysfunction in severe COVID-19 is associated with excessive NET formation and vascular damage. FUNDING: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), EU, Volkswagen-Stiftung.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Extracellular Traps/metabolism , Microvessels/pathology , Neutrophils/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Thrombosis/metabolism , COVID-19 , Cells, Cultured , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Endothelium, Vascular/metabolism , Endothelium, Vascular/pathology , Humans , Microvessels/metabolism , Neutrophils/pathology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Thrombosis/etiology , Thrombosis/pathology
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