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2.
Vascul Pharmacol ; 130: 106680, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1386723

ABSTRACT

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and its homologue, ACE2, have been mostly associated with hypertensive disorder. However, recent pandemia of SARS-CoV-2 has put these proteins at the center of attention, as this virus has been shown to exploit ACE2 protein to enter cells. Clear difference in the response of affected patients to this virus has urged researchers to find the molecular basis and pathophysiology of the cell response to this virus. Different levels of expression and function of ACE proteins, underlying disorders, consumption of certain medications and the existence of certain genomic variants within ACE genes are possible explanations for the observed difference in the response of individuals to the SARS-CoV-2 infection. In the current review, we discuss the putative mechanisms for this observation.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/enzymology , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/biosynthesis , Pneumonia, Viral/enzymology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Humans , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/blood , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology
4.
Fertil Steril ; 114(2): 223-232, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1385570

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To determine the susceptibility of the endometrium to infection by-and thereby potential damage from-SARS-CoV-2. DESIGN: Analysis of SARS-Cov-2 infection-related gene expression from endometrial transcriptomic data sets. SETTING: Infertility research department affiliated with a public hospital. PATIENT(S): Gene expression data from five studies in 112 patients with normal endometrium collected throughout the menstrual cycle. INTERVENTION(S): None. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Gene expression and correlation between viral infectivity genes and age throughout the menstrual cycle. RESULT(S): Gene expression was high for TMPRSS4, CTSL, CTSB, FURIN, MX1, and BSG; medium for TMPRSS2; and low for ACE2. ACE2, TMPRSS4, CTSB, CTSL, and MX1 expression increased toward the window of implantation. TMPRSS4 expression was positively correlated with ACE2, CTSB, CTSL, MX1, and FURIN during several cycle phases; TMPRSS2 was not statistically significantly altered across the cycle. ACE2, TMPRSS4, CTSB, CTSL, BSG, and MX1 expression increased with age, especially in early phases of the cycle. CONCLUSION(S): Endometrial tissue is likely safe from SARS-CoV-2 cell entry based on ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression, but susceptibility increases with age. Further, TMPRSS4, along with BSG-mediated viral entry into cells, could imply a susceptible environment for SARS-CoV-2 entry via different mechanisms. Additional studies are warranted to determine the true risk of endometrial infection by SARS-CoV-2 and implications for fertility treatments.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Endometrium/metabolism , Endometrium/virology , Gene Expression Regulation, Viral , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Adult , Age Factors , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Betacoronavirus/genetics , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Female , Humans , Menstrual Cycle , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/biosynthesis , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , Risk Assessment/methods , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Internalization , Young Adult
5.
Viruses ; 12(10)2020 10 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389518

ABSTRACT

To address the expression pattern of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 and the viral priming protease TMPRSS2 in the respiratory tract, this study investigated RNA sequencing transcriptome profiling of samples of airway and oral mucosa. As shown, ACE2 has medium levels of expression in both small airway epithelium and masticatory mucosa, and high levels of expression in nasal epithelium. The expression of ACE2 is low in mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells and cannot be detected in alveolar macrophages. TMPRSS2 is highly expressed in small airway epithelium and nasal epithelium and has lower expression in masticatory mucosa. Our results provide the molecular basis that the nasal mucosa is the most susceptible locus in the respiratory tract for SARS-CoV-2 infection and consequently for subsequent droplet transmission and should be the focus for protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/physiology , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/biosynthesis , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/biosynthesis , Virus Internalization , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Epithelium/metabolism , Epithelium/virology , Gene Expression , Gene Expression Profiling , Humans , Nasal Mucosa/metabolism , Nasal Mucosa/virology , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Respiratory System/metabolism , Respiratory System/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics
6.
Exp Eye Res ; 205: 108527, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1116639

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the expression of the SARS-CoV-2 receptors ACE2 and TMPRSS2 in an immortalized human conjunctival epithelial cell line and in healthy human conjunctiva excised during ocular surgery, using Western blot, confocal microscopy and immunohistochemistry. The Western blot showed that ACE2 and TMPRSS2 proteins were expressed in human immortalized conjunctival cells, and this was confirmed by confocal microscopy images, that demonstrated a marked cellular expression of the viral receptors and their co-localization on the cell membranes. Healthy conjunctival samples from 11 adult patients were excised during retinal detachment surgery. We found the expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 in all the conjunctival surgical specimens analyzed and their co-localization in the superficial conjunctival epithelium. The ACE2 Western blot levels and immunofluorescence staining for ACE2 were variable among specimens. These results suggest the susceptibility of the conjunctival epithelium to SARS-CoV-2 infection, even though with a possible interindividual variability.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , Conjunctiva/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Gene Expression Regulation , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Epithelial Cells/pathology , Humans , Immunohistochemistry , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/biosynthesis , RNA/genetics , RNA/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/biosynthesis
7.
Exp Eye Res ; 205: 108501, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1082698

ABSTRACT

The angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor has been proved for SARS-CoV-2 cell entry after auxiliary cellular protease priming by transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2), but the co-effect of this molecular mechanism was unknown. Here, single-cell sequencing was performed with human conjunctiva and the results have shown that ACE2 and TMPRSS2 were highly co-expressed in the goblet cells with genes involved in immunity process. This identification of conjunctival cell types which are permissive to virus entry would help to understand the process by which SARS-CoV-2 infection was established. These finding might be suggestive for COVID-19 control and protection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , Conjunctiva/metabolism , Gene Expression Regulation , Goblet Cells/metabolism , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Conjunctiva/pathology , Goblet Cells/pathology , Humans , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/biosynthesis , RNA/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/biosynthesis
8.
Respirology ; 26(5): 442-451, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1032419

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: COVID-19 is complicated by acute lung injury, and death in some individuals. It is caused by SARS-CoV-2 that requires the ACE2 receptor and serine proteases to enter AEC. We determined what factors are associated with ACE2 expression particularly in patients with asthma and COPD. METHODS: We obtained lower AEC from 145 people from two independent cohorts, aged 2-89 years, Newcastle (n = 115) and Perth (n = 30), Australia. The Newcastle cohort was enriched with people with asthma (n = 37) and COPD (n = 38). Gene expression for ACE2 and other genes potentially associated with SARS-CoV-2 cell entry was assessed by qPCR, and protein expression was confirmed with immunohistochemistry on endobronchial biopsies and cultured AEC. RESULTS: Increased gene expression of ACE2 was associated with older age (P = 0.03) and male sex (P = 0.03), but not with pack-years smoked. When we compared gene expression between adults with asthma, COPD and healthy controls, mean ACE2 expression was lower in asthma patients (P = 0.01). Gene expression of furin, a protease that facilitates viral endocytosis, was also lower in patients with asthma (P = 0.02), while ADAM-17, a disintegrin that cleaves ACE2 from the surface, was increased (P = 0.02). ACE2 protein expression was also reduced in endobronchial biopsies from asthma patients. CONCLUSION: Increased ACE2 expression occurs in older people and males. Asthma patients have reduced expression. Altered ACE2 expression in the lower airway may be an important factor in virus tropism and may in part explain susceptibility factors and why asthma patients are not over-represented in those with COVID-19 complications.


Subject(s)
Asthma/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Gene Expression Regulation , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Asthma/epidemiology , Asthma/metabolism , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/metabolism , Comorbidity , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/biosynthesis
9.
PLoS One ; 15(10): e0240647, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-895060

ABSTRACT

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 epidemic a public health emergency of international concern on March 11th, 2020, and the pandemic is rapidly spreading worldwide. COVID-19 is caused by a novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which enters human target cells via angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). We used a number of bioinformatics tools to computationally characterize ACE2 by determining its cell-specific expression in trachea, lung, and small intestine, derive its putative functions, and predict transcriptional regulation. The small intestine expressed higher levels of ACE2 mRNA than any other organ. By immunohistochemistry, duodenum, kidney and testis showed strong signals, whereas the signal was weak in the respiratory tract. Single cell RNA-Seq data from trachea indicated positive signals along the respiratory tract in key protective cell types including club, goblet, proliferating, and ciliary epithelial cells; while in lung the ratio of ACE2-expressing cells was low in all cell types (<2.6%), but was highest in vascular endothelial and goblet cells. Gene ontology analysis suggested that, besides its classical role in the renin-angiotensin system, ACE2 may be functionally associated with angiogenesis/blood vessel morphogenesis. Using a novel tool for the prediction of transcription factor binding sites we identified several putative binding sites within two tissue-specific promoters of the ACE2 gene as well as a new putative short form of ACE2. These include several interferon-stimulated response elements sites for STAT1, IRF8, and IRF9. Our results also confirmed that age and gender play no significant role in the regulation of ACE2 mRNA expression in the lung.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/physiology , Computational Biology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/physiology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Receptors, Virus/physiology , Aging/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Binding Sites , COVID-19 , Carrier Proteins/biosynthesis , Carrier Proteins/genetics , Female , Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic , Gene Ontology , Humans , Interferons/physiology , Lung/metabolism , Male , Metalloproteases/biosynthesis , Metalloproteases/genetics , Neovascularization, Physiologic/physiology , Organ Specificity , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/biosynthesis , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Promoter Regions, Genetic , RNA, Messenger/biosynthesis , Receptors, Virus/biosynthesis , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Renin-Angiotensin System/physiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Sex Characteristics , Single-Cell Analysis , Transcription Factors/metabolism , Transcription Initiation Site , Virus Attachment
10.
Pain ; 161(11): 2494-2501, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-878868

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has created a global crisis. COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, is characterized by pneumonia, respiratory distress, and hypercoagulation and can be fatal. An early sign of infection is loss of smell, taste, and chemesthesis-loss of chemical sensation. Other neurological effects of the disease have been described, but not explained. It is now apparent that many of these neurological effects (for instance joint pain and headache) can persist for at least months after infection, suggesting a sensory neuronal involvement in persistent disease. We show that human dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons express the SARS-CoV-2 receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 at the RNA and protein level. We also demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 and coronavirus-associated factors and receptors are broadly expressed in human DRG at the lumbar and thoracic level as assessed by bulk RNA sequencing. ACE2 mRNA is expressed by a subset of nociceptors that express MRGPRD mRNA, suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 may gain access to the nervous system through entry into neurons that form free nerve endings at the outermost layers of skin and luminal organs. Therefore, DRG sensory neurons are a potential target for SARS-CoV-2 invasion of the peripheral nervous system, and viral infection of human nociceptors may cause some of the persistent neurological effects seen in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Ganglia, Spinal/metabolism , Nervous System Diseases/metabolism , Nociceptors/metabolism , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/biosynthesis , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Adult , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Female , Ganglia, Spinal/virology , Gene Expression , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Nervous System Diseases/genetics , Nervous System Diseases/virology , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
11.
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci ; 61(12): 13, 2020 10 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-852836

ABSTRACT

Purpose: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic severely challenges public health and necessitates the need for increasing our understanding of COVID-19 pathogenesis, especially host factors facilitating virus infection and propagation. The aim of this study was to investigate key factors for cellular susceptibility to severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in the ocular surface cells. Methods: We combined co-expression and SARS-CoV-2 interactome network to predict key genes at COVID-19 in ocular infection based on the premise that genes underlying a disease are often functionally related and functionally related genes are often co-expressed. Results: The co-expression network was constructed by mapping the well-known angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE2), TMPRSS2, and host susceptibility genes implicated in COVID-19 genomewide association study (GWAS) onto a cornea, retinal pigment epithelium, and lung. We found a significant co-expression module of these genes in the cornea, revealing that cornea is potential extra-respiratory entry portal of SARS-CoV-2. Strikingly, both co-expression and interaction networks show a significant enrichment in mitochondrial function, which are the hub of cellular oxidative homeostasis, inflammation, and innate immune response. We identified a corneal mitochondrial susceptibility module (CMSM) of 14 mitochondrial genes by integrating ACE2 co-expression cluster and SARS-CoV-2 interactome. The gene ECSIT, as a cytosolic adaptor protein involved in inflammatory responses, exhibits the strongest correlation with ACE2 in CMSM, which has shown to be an important risk factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection and prognosis. Conclusions: Our co-expression and protein interaction network analysis uncover that the mitochondrial function related genes in cornea contribute to the dissection of COVID-19 susceptibility and potential therapeutic interventions.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Cornea/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Gene Expression Regulation , Genes, Mitochondrial/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , RNA/genetics , COVID-19 , Cell Line , Cornea/pathology , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Humans , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/biosynthesis , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2
12.
Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol ; 319(5): L843-L847, 2020 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-809034

ABSTRACT

The incidence, severity, and mortality of ongoing coronavirus infectious disease 19 (COVID-19) is greater in men compared with women, but the underlying factors contributing to this sex difference are still being explored. In the current study, using primary isolated human airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells from normal males versus females as a model, we explored the effect of estrogen versus testosterone in modulating the expression of angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a cell entry point for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Using confocal imaging, we found that ACE2 is expressed in human ASM. Furthermore, Western analysis of ASM cell lysates showed significantly lower ACE2 expression in females compared with males at baseline. In addition, ASM cells exposed to estrogen and testosterone for 24 h showed that testosterone significantly upregulates ACE2 expression in both males and females, whereas estrogen downregulates ACE2, albeit not significant compared with vehicle. These intrinsic and sex steroids induced differences may help explain sex differences in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/biosynthesis , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Respiratory System/metabolism , Adult , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Cells, Cultured , Coronavirus Infections/enzymology , Estrogens/metabolism , Estrogens/pharmacology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Myocytes, Smooth Muscle/cytology , Myocytes, Smooth Muscle/drug effects , Myocytes, Smooth Muscle/enzymology , Myocytes, Smooth Muscle/metabolism , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/enzymology , Respiratory System/cytology , Respiratory System/drug effects , Respiratory System/enzymology , Sex Factors , Testosterone/metabolism , Testosterone/pharmacology
14.
Med Sci Monit ; 26: e926651, 2020 Sep 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-793806

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND Use of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients lacks evidence and is still controversial. This study was designed to investigate effects of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) or angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) on clinical outcomes of COVID-19 patients and to assess the safety of ACEIs/ARBs medication. MATERIAL AND METHODS COVID-19 patients with hypertension from 2 hospitals in Wuhan, China, from 17 Feb to 18 Mar 2020 were retrospectively screened and grouped according to in-hospital medication. We performed 1: 1 propensity score matching (PSM) analysis to adjust for confounding factors. RESULTS We included 210 patients and allocated them to ACEIs/ARBs (n=81; 46.91% males) or non-ACEIs/ARBs (n=129; 48.06% males) groups. The median age was 68 [interquartile range (IQR) 61.5-76] and 66 (IQR 59-72.5) years, respectively. General comparison showed mortality in the ACEIs/ARBs group was higher (8.64% vs. 3.88%) but the difference was not significant (P=0.148). ACEIs/ARBs was associated with significantly more cases 7-categorical ordinal scale >2 at discharge, more cases requiring Intensive Care Unit (ICU) stay, and increased values and ratio of days that blood pressure (BP) was above normal range (P<0.05). PSM analysis showed no significant difference in mortality, cumulative survival rate, or other clinical outcomes such as length of in-hospital/ICU stay, BP fluctuations, or ratio of adverse events between groups after adjustment for confounding parameters on admission. CONCLUSIONS We found no association between ACEIs/ARBs and clinical outcomes or adverse events, thus indicating no evidence for discontinuing use of ACEIs/ARBs in the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists/therapeutic use , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Antihypertensive Agents/therapeutic use , Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Hypertension/complications , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Aged , Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists/adverse effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/adverse effects , Antihypertensive Agents/adverse effects , COVID-19 , China , Comorbidity , Female , Hospital Mortality , Humans , Hypertension/drug therapy , Intensive Care Units/statistics & numerical data , Length of Stay/statistics & numerical data , Male , Middle Aged , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/biosynthesis , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/drug effects , Propensity Score , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Survival Rate , Treatment Outcome
16.
Neurologia (Engl Ed) ; 35(9): 628-632, 2020.
Article in English, Spanish | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-747866

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: In recent months, doubts have arisen among patients, general practitioners, and neurologists as to whether some drugs commonly used in patients with headaches and neuralgia may favour or complicate the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. MATERIAL AND METHODS: We collected information on the opinions of scientific societies and medicines agencies (American, European, and Spanish) to clarify doubts regarding the use of drugs such as lisinopril, candesartan, ibuprofen, corticosteroids, carbamazepine, and monoclonal antibodies targeting the calcitonin gene-related peptide in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. RESULTS: We make recommendations about the use of standard headache treatments in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, based on the current scientific evidence. CONCLUSIONS: At present, there is no robust scientific argument to formally contraindicate any of the standard treatments employed for headaches and neuralgias.


Subject(s)
Analgesics/adverse effects , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Headache/drug therapy , Neuralgia/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Adrenal Cortex Hormones/adverse effects , Adrenal Cortex Hormones/therapeutic use , Analgesics/pharmacology , Analgesics/therapeutic use , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Antibodies, Monoclonal/adverse effects , Antibodies, Monoclonal/therapeutic use , Anticonvulsants/adverse effects , Anticonvulsants/therapeutic use , Antihypertensive Agents/adverse effects , Antihypertensive Agents/therapeutic use , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Benzimidazoles/adverse effects , Benzimidazoles/therapeutic use , Betacoronavirus , Biphenyl Compounds , COVID-19 , Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide Receptor Antagonists/adverse effects , Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide Receptor Antagonists/therapeutic use , Carbamazepine/adverse effects , Carbamazepine/therapeutic use , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Disease Susceptibility/chemically induced , Drug Interactions , Enzyme Induction/drug effects , Headache/complications , Headache/prevention & control , Humans , Ibuprofen/adverse effects , Ibuprofen/pharmacology , Ibuprofen/therapeutic use , Lisinopril/adverse effects , Lisinopril/therapeutic use , Neuralgia/complications , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/biosynthesis , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Receptors, Virus/biosynthesis , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Tetrazoles/adverse effects , Tetrazoles/therapeutic use
17.
J Cardiovasc Pharmacol ; 76(4): 397-406, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-706197

ABSTRACT

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has produced serious turmoil world-wide. Lung injury causing acute respiratory distress syndrome seems to be a most dreaded complication occurring in ∼30%. Older patients with cardiovascular comorbidities and acute respiratory distress syndrome have an increased mortality. Although the precise mechanisms involved in the development of lung injury have not been fully elucidated, the role of the extended renin-angiotensin system seems to be pivotal. In this context, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), an angiotensin-converting enzyme homologue, has been recognized as a facilitator of viral entry into the host, albeit its involvement in other counter-regulatory effects, such as converting angiotensin (Ang) II into Ang 1-7 with its known protective actions. Thus, concern was raised that the use of renin-angiotensin system inhibitors by increasing ACE2 expression may enhance patient susceptibility to the COVID-19 virus. However, current data have appeased such concerns because there has been no clinical evidence of a harmful effect of these agents as based on observational studies. However, properly designed future studies will be needed to further confirm or refute current evidence. Furthermore, other pathways may also play important roles in COVID-19 transmission and pathogenesis; spike (S) protein proteases facilitate viral transmission by cleaving S protein that promotes viral entry into the host; neprilysin (NEP), a neutral endopeptidase known to cleave natriuretic peptides, degrades Ang I into Ang 1-7; NEP can also catabolize bradykinin and thus mitigate bradykinin's role in inflammation, whereas, in the same context, specific bradykinin inhibitors may also negate bradykinin's harmful effects. Based on these intricate mechanisms, various preventive and therapeutic strategies may be devised, such as upregulating ACE2 and/or using recombinant ACE2, and exploiting the NEP, bradykinin and serine protease pathways, in addition to anti-inflammatory and antiviral therapies. These issues are herein reviewed, available studies are tabulated and pathogenetic mechanisms are pictorially illustrated.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Renin-Angiotensin System/drug effects , Angiotensin I/therapeutic use , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/therapeutic use , COVID-19 , Humans , Pandemics , Peptide Fragments/therapeutic use , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/biosynthesis , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/therapeutic use , Recombinant Proteins/therapeutic use , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
18.
Mod Pathol ; 33(11): 2092-2103, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-693331

ABSTRACT

Congenital infection of SARS-CoV-2 appears to be exceptionally rare despite many cases of COVID-19 during pregnancy. Robust proof of placental infection requires demonstration of viral localization within placental tissue. Only two of the few cases of possible vertical transmission have demonstrated placental infection. None have shown placental expression of the ACE2 or TMPRSS2 protein, both required for viral infection. We examined 19 COVID-19 exposed placentas for histopathologic findings, and for expression of ACE2, and TMPRSS2 by immunohistochemistry. Direct placental SARS-CoV-2 expression was studied by two methods-nucleocapsid protein expression by immunohistochemistry, and RNA expression by in situ hybridization. ACE2 membranous expression in the syncytiotrophoblast (ST) of the chorionic villi is predominantly in a polarized pattern with expression highest on the stromal side of the ST. In addition, cytotrophoblast and extravillous trophoblast express ACE2. No ACE2 expression was detected in villous stroma, Hofbauer cells, or endothelial cells. TMPRSS2 expression was only present weakly in the villous endothelium and rarely in the ST. In 2 of 19 cases, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was present in the placenta focally in the ST and cytotrophoblast. There was no characteristic histopathology present in our cases including the two placental infections. We found that the placenta is capable of being infected but that this event is rare. We propose one explanation could be the polarized expression of ACE2 away from the maternal blood and pronounced paucity of TMPRSS2 expression in trophoblast.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/virology , Placenta/pathology , Placenta/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/virology , Adult , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Female , Humans , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/biosynthesis , Placenta/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/metabolism , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/pathology , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/biosynthesis
20.
Med Hypotheses ; 143: 110112, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-654445

ABSTRACT

In coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), four major factors have been correlated with worse prognosis: aging, hypertension, obesity, and exposure to androgen hormones. Angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) receptor, regulation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), and transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2) action are critical for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) cell entry and infectivity. ACE2 expression and RAAS are abnormal in hypertension and obesity, while TMPRSS2 is overexpressed when exposed to androgens, which may justify why these factors are overrepresented in COVID-19. Among therapeutic targets for SARS-CoV-2, we hypothesized that spironolactone, a long used and safe mineralocorticoid and androgen receptors antagonist, with effective anti-hypertensive, cardioprotective, nephroprotective, and anti-androgenic properties may offer pleiotropic actions in different sites to protect from COVID-19. Current data shows that spironolactone may concurrently mitigate abnormal ACE2 expression, correct the balances membrane-attached and free circulating ACE2 and between angiotensin II and Angiotensin-(1-7) (Ang-(1-7)), suppress androgen-mediated TMPRSS2 activity, and inhibit obesity-related RAAS dysfunctions, with consequent decrease of viral priming. Hence, spironolactone may provide protection from SARS-CoV-2, and has sufficient plausibility to be clinically tested, particularly in the early stages of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Androgen Antagonists/therapeutic use , Androgens/physiology , Betacoronavirus/physiology , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists/therapeutic use , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Renin-Angiotensin System/drug effects , Spironolactone/therapeutic use , Androgen Antagonists/pharmacology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/therapeutic use , COVID-19 , Cardiotonic Agents/pharmacology , Cardiotonic Agents/therapeutic use , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/physiopathology , Enzyme Induction/drug effects , Humans , Hypertension/complications , Hypertension/drug therapy , Hypertension/physiopathology , Kidney/drug effects , Male , Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists/pharmacology , Obesity/complications , Obesity/physiopathology , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/biosynthesis , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/drug effects , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/physiopathology , Prognosis , Receptors, Virus/drug effects , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/drug effects , Sex Distribution , Spironolactone/pharmacology , Virus Internalization/drug effects
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