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1.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(12)2021 Jun 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1282512

ABSTRACT

The sigma-1 (σ1) receptor is a 'pluripotent chaperone' protein mainly expressed at the mitochondria-endoplasmic reticulum membrane interfaces where it interacts with several client proteins. This feature renders the σ1 receptor an ideal target for the development of multifunctional ligands, whose benefits are now recognized because several pathologies are multifactorial. Indeed, the current therapeutic regimens are based on the administration of different classes of drugs in order to counteract the diverse unbalanced physiological pathways associated with the pathology. Thus, the multi-targeted directed ligand (MTDL) approach, with one molecule that exerts poly-pharmacological actions, may be a winning strategy that overcomes the pharmacokinetic issues linked to the administration of diverse drugs. This review aims to point out the progress in the development of MTDLs directed toward σ1 receptors for the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) and cancer diseases, with a focus on the perspectives that are proper for this strategy. The evidence that some drugs in clinical use unintentionally bind the σ1 protein (as off-target) provides a proof of concept of the potential of this strategy, and it strongly supports the promise that the σ1 receptor holds as a target to be hit in the context of MTDLs for the therapy of multifactorial pathologies.


Subject(s)
Receptors, sigma/metabolism , Animals , Humans , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , Ligands , Neoplasms/drug therapy , Neoplasms/pathology , Stem Cells/metabolism
2.
Stem Cell Reports ; 16(3): 437-445, 2021 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1084274

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is a transmissible respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and has become a global health emergency. There is an urgent need for robust and practical in vitro model systems to investigate viral pathogenesis. Here, we generated human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived lung organoids (LORGs), cerebral organoids (CORGs), neural progenitor cells (NPCs), neurons, and astrocytes. LORGs containing epithelial cells, alveolar types 1 and 2, highly express ACE2 and TMPRSS2 and are permissive to SARS-CoV-2 infection. SARS-CoV-2 infection induces interferons, cytokines, and chemokines and activates critical inflammasome pathway genes. Spike protein inhibitor, EK1 peptide, and TMPRSS2 inhibitors (camostat/nafamostat) block viral entry in LORGs. Conversely, CORGs, NPCs, astrocytes, and neurons express low levels of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 and correspondingly are not highly permissive to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Infection in neuronal cells activates TLR3/7, OAS2, complement system, and apoptotic genes. These findings will aid in understanding COVID-19 pathogenesis and facilitate drug discovery.


Subject(s)
Brain/virology , COVID-19/virology , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/virology , Lung/virology , Neural Stem Cells/virology , Organoids/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Apoptosis/physiology , Brain/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Cells, Cultured , Complement System Proteins/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/virology , Humans , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/metabolism , Inflammation/metabolism , Inflammation/virology , Lung/metabolism , Neural Stem Cells/metabolism , Neurons/metabolism , Neurons/virology , Organoids/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Signal Transduction/physiology , Stem Cells/metabolism , Stem Cells/virology
3.
Theranostics ; 11(5): 2170-2181, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1016389

ABSTRACT

Introduction: An increasing number of children with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is being reported, yet the spectrum of disease severity and expression patterns of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in children at different developmental stages are largely unknow. Methods: We analysed clinical features in a cohort of 173 children with COVID-19 (0-15 yrs.-old) between January 22, 2020 and March 15, 2020. We systematically examined the expression and distribution of ACE2 in different developmental stages of children by using a combination of children's lung biopsies, pluripotent stem cell-derived lung cells, RNA-sequencing profiles, and ex vivo SARS-CoV-2 pseudoviral infections. Results: It revealed that infants (< 1yrs.-old), with a weaker potency of immune response, are more vulnerable to develop pneumonia whereas older children (> 1 yrs.-old) are more resistant to lung injury. The expression levels of ACE2 however do not vary by age in children's lung. ACE2 is notably expressed not only in Alveolar Type II (AT II) cells, but also in SOX9 positive lung progenitor cells detected in both pluripotent stem cell derivatives and infants' lungs. The ACE2+SOX9+ cells are readily infected by SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus and the numbers of the double positive cells are significantly decreased in older children. Conclusions: Infants (< 1 yrs.-old) with SARS-CoV-2 infection are more vulnerable to lung injuries. ACE2 expression in multiple types of lung cells including SOX9 positive progenitor cells, in cooperation with an unestablished immune system, could be risk factors contributing to vulnerability of infants with COVID-19. There is a need to continue monitoring lung development in young children who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Lung/cytology , Stem Cells/metabolism , Adolescent , Biopsy , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Immune System , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Lung/virology , Male , RNA-Seq , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , SOX9 Transcription Factor/metabolism , Single-Cell Analysis , Stem Cells/virology
4.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun ; 533(4): 1276-1282, 2020 12 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-885206

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The whole world was hit hard by the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). Given that angiotensin I converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the viral entry molecule, understanding ACE2 has become a major focus of current COVID-19 research. ACE2 is highly expressed in the gut, but its role has not been fully understood and thus COVID-19 treatments intending to downregulate ACE2 level may cause untoward side effects. Gaining insight into the functions of ACE2 in gut homeostasis therefore merits closer examination, and is beneficial to find potential therapeutic alternatives for COVID-19. METHODS: We took advantage of Ace2 knockout out mice and isolated intestinal organoids to examine the role of ACE2 in intestinal stemness. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) mouse model was established by 4% dextran sodium sulfate. LGR5 and KI67 levels were quantitated to reflect the virtue of intestinal stem cells (ISCs). FITC-dextran 4 (FD-4) assay was used to assess intestinal barrier function. RESULTS: Western blotting identified the expression of ACE2 in colon, which was consistent with the results of immunofluorescence and RT-PCR. Moreover, Ace2-/- organoids showed decreased LRG5 and KI67 levels, and elevated calcium concentration. Furthermore, the permeability of ace2-/- organoids was markedly increased compared with ace2+/+ organoids. Collectively, ace2-/- mice were more susceptible than ace2+/+ mice to IBD, including earlier bloody stool, undermined intestinal architecture and more pronounced weight loss. CONCLUSIONS: Our data reveal that ACE2 contributes to the proliferation of intestinal stem cells and hence orchestrates the mucosal homeostasis.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Epithelium/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/deficiency , Animals , Calcium/metabolism , Cell Membrane Permeability , Inflammatory Bowel Diseases/enzymology , Inflammatory Bowel Diseases/pathology , Intestines/pathology , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Knockout , Organoids/metabolism , Stem Cells/cytology , Stem Cells/metabolism
5.
Sci Rep ; 10(1): 17772, 2020 10 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-882925

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 can infiltrate the lower respiratory tract, resulting in severe respiratory failure and a high death rate. Normally, the airway and alveolar epithelium can be rapidly reconstituted by multipotent stem cells after episodes of infection. Here, we analyzed published RNA-seq datasets and demonstrated that cells of four different lung epithelial stem cell types express SARS-CoV-2 entry factors, including Ace2. Thus, stem cells can be potentially infected by SARS-CoV-2, which may lead to defects in regeneration capacity partially accounting for the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection and its consequences.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/physiology , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Virus Internalization , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , Cell Differentiation , Cell Line , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Lung/cytology , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Stem Cells/cytology , Stem Cells/metabolism , Stem Cells/virology , Viral Proteins/genetics
6.
Stem Cell Reports ; 15(5): 1015-1025, 2020 11 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-864993

ABSTRACT

Despite the central importance of the respiratory system, the exact mechanisms governing lung repair after severe injury remain unclear. The notion that alveolar type 2 cells (AT2s) self-renew and differentiate into alveolar type 1 cells (AT1s) does not fully encompass scenarios where these progenitors are severely affected by disease, e.g., H1N1 influenza or SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). Intrapulmonary p63+ progenitor cells, a rare cell type in mice but potentially encompassing more numerous classic basal cells in humans, are activated in such severe injury settings, proliferating and migrating into the injured alveolar parenchyma, providing a short-term "emergency" benefit. While the fate of these cells is controversial, most studies indicate that they represent a maladaptive repair pathway with a fate restriction toward airway cell types, rarely differentiating into AT2 or AT1 cells. Here, we discuss the role of intrapulmonary basal-like p63+ cells in alveolar regeneration and suggest a unified model to guide future studies.


Subject(s)
Lung/physiology , Regeneration , Stem Cells/metabolism , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/cytology , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Differentiation , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Lung Diseases/pathology , Lung Diseases/therapy , Lung Diseases/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Stem Cell Transplantation , Stem Cells/cytology
7.
Stem Cell Rev Rep ; 17(2): 390-410, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-728268

ABSTRACT

Regenerative medicine (RM) is an interdisciplinary field that aims to repair, replace or regenerate damaged or missing tissue or organs to function as close as possible to its physiological architecture and functions. Stem cells, which are undifferentiated cells retaining self-renewal potential, excessive proliferation and differentiation capacity into offspring or daughter cells that form different lineage cells of an organism, are considered as an important part of the RM approaches. They have been widely investigated in preclinical and clinical studies for therapeutic purposes. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are the vital mediators that regulate the therapeutic effects of stem cells. Besides, they carry various types of cargo between cells which make them a significant contributor of intercellular communication. Given their role in physiological and pathological conditions in living cells, EVs are considered as a new therapeutic alternative solution for a variety of diseases in which there is a high unmet clinical need. This review aims to summarize and identify therapeutic potential of stem cells and EVs in diseases requiring acute emergency care such as trauma, heart diseases, stroke, acute respiratory distress syndrome and burn injury. Diseases that affect militaries or societies including acute radiation syndrome, sepsis and viral pandemics such as novel coronavirus disease 2019 are also discussed. Additionally, featuring and problematic issues that hamper clinical translation of stem cells and EVs are debated in a comparative manner with a futuristic perspective. Graphical Abstract.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/therapy , Emergency Medical Services , Extracellular Vesicles/transplantation , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Stem Cells/metabolism , Extracellular Vesicles/metabolism , Humans
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