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J Cell Mol Med ; 25(22): 10554-10564, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1462824


Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is the most common cause of death in COVID-19 patients. The cytokine storm is the main driver of the severity and magnitude of ARDS. Placenta-derived decidua stromal cells (DSCs) have a stronger immunosuppressive effect than other sources of mesenchymal stromal cells. Safety and efficacy study included 10 patients with a median age of 50 (range 14-68) years with COVID-19-induced ARDS. DSCs were administered 1-2 times at a dose of 1 × 106 /kg. End points were safety and efficacy by survival, oxygenation and effects on levels of cytokines. Oxygenation levels increased from a median of 80.5% (range 69-88) to 95% (range 78-99) (p = 0.012), and pulmonary infiltrates disappeared in all patients. Levels of IL-6 decreased from a median of 69.3 (range 35.0-253.4) to 11 (range 4.0-38.3) pg/ml (p = 0.018), and CRP decreased from 69 (range 5-169) to 6 (range 2-31) mg/ml (p = 0.028). Two patients died, one of a myocardial infarction and the other of multiple organ failure, diagnosed before the DSC therapy. The other patients recovered and left the intensive care unit (ICU) within a median of 6 (range 3-12) days. DSC therapy is safe and capable of improving oxygenation, decreasing inflammatory cytokine level and clearing pulmonary infiltrates in patients with COVID-19.

COVID-19 Drug Treatment , Cell Transplantation/methods , Cytokine Release Syndrome/therapy , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/virology , Stromal Cells/transplantation , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/therapy , Cell Transplantation/adverse effects , Cytokine Release Syndrome/etiology , Cytokines/blood , Female , Humans , Length of Stay , Male , Middle Aged , Placenta/cytology , Pregnancy , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/therapy , Stromal Cells/physiology , Treatment Outcome
Biol Reprod ; 104(2): 336-343, 2021 02 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1080988


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) first appeared in December 2019 and rapidly spread throughout the world. The SARS-CoV-2 virus enters the host cells by binding to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Although much of the focus is on respiratory symptoms, recent reports suggest that SARS-CoV-2 can cause pregnancy complications such as pre-term birth and miscarriages; and women with COVID-19 have had maternal vascular malperfusion and decidual arteriopathy in their placentas. Here, we report that the ACE2 protein is expressed in both endometrial epithelial and stromal cells in the proliferative phase of the menstrual cycle, and the expression increases in stromal cells in the secretory phase. It was observed that the ACE2 mRNA and protein abundance increased during primary human endometrial stromal cell (HESC) decidualization. Furthermore, HESCs transfected with ACE2-targeting siRNA impaired the full decidualization response, as evidenced by a lack of morphology change and lower expression of the decidualization markers PRL and IGFBP1. Additionally, in mice during pregnancy, the ACE2 protein was expressed in the uterine epithelial cells, and stromal cells increased through day 6 of pregnancy. Finally, progesterone induced Ace2 mRNA expression in mouse uteri more than vehicle or estrogen. These data establish a role for ACE2 in endometrial physiology, suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 may be able to enter endometrial stromal cells and elicit pathological manifestations in women with COVID-19, including an increased risk of early pregnancy loss.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Endometrium/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Stromal Cells/physiology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/complications , Cells, Cultured , Endometrium/cytology , Female , Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic/physiology , Gene Knockdown Techniques , Humans , Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 1/genetics , Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 1/metabolism , Mice , Pregnancy , Prolactin/genetics , Prolactin/metabolism , RNA Interference , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism