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1.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 24397, 2021 12 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585779

ABSTRACT

Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is an important factor in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) interactions. Losartan (LOS) belongs to the angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) family. Additionally, the protective role of ACE2 restored by LOS has been suggested and clinically examined in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Furthermore, clinical trials with LOS have been conducted. However, the mechanism through which LOS enhances ACE2 expression remains unclear. In addition, the response of ACE2 to LOS differs among patients. Our LOS-treated patient data revealed a correlated mechanism of ACE2 with components of the renin-angiotensinogen system. We observed a significant positive regulation of MAS1 and ACE2 expression. In the context of LOS treatment of COVID-19, ACE2 expression could depend on LOS regulated MAS1. Thus, MAS1 expression could predict the COVID-19 treatment response of LOS.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists/pharmacology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Losartan/pharmacology , Renin-Angiotensin System/drug effects , Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists/therapeutic use , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Databases, Factual , Humans , Losartan/therapeutic use , /metabolism , Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1/genetics , Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Up-Regulation/drug effects
2.
PLoS One ; 16(10): e0258856, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1542176

ABSTRACT

Hypoxia is a common pathway to the progression of end-stage kidney disease. Retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) encodes an RNA helicase that recognizes viruses including SARS-CoV2, which is responsible for the production of interferon (IFN)-α/ß to prevent the spread of viral infection. Recently, RIG-I activation was found under hypoxic conditions, and klotho deficiency was shown to intensify the activation of RIG-I in mouse brains. However, the roles of these functions in renal inflammation remain elusive. Here, for in vitro study, the expression of RIG-I and IFN-α/ß was examined in normal rat kidney (NRK)-52E cells incubated under hypoxic conditions (1% O2). Next, siRNA targeting RIG-I or scramble siRNA was transfected into NRK52E cells to examine the expression of RIG-I and IFN-α/ß under hypoxic conditions. We also investigated the expression levels of RIG-I and IFN-α/ß in 33 human kidney biopsy samples diagnosed with IgA nephropathy. For in vivo study, we induced renal hypoxia by clamping the renal artery for 10 min in wild-type mice (WT mice) and Klotho-knockout mice (Kl-/- mice). Incubation under hypoxic conditions increased the expression of RIG-I and IFN-α/ß in NRK52E cells. Their upregulation was inhibited in NRK52E cells transfected with siRNA targeting RIG-I. In patients with IgA nephropathy, immunohistochemical staining of renal biopsy samples revealed that the expression of RIG-I was correlated with that of IFN-α/ß (r = 0.57, P<0.001, and r = 0.81, P<0.001, respectively). The expression levels of RIG-I and IFN-α/ß were upregulated in kidneys of hypoxic WT mice and further upregulation was observed in hypoxic Kl-/- mice. These findings suggest that hypoxia induces the expression of IFN-α/ß through the upregulation of RIG-I, and that klotho deficiency intensifies this hypoxia-induced expression in kidneys.


Subject(s)
Glucuronidase/metabolism , Hypoxia/metabolism , Interferon-alpha/metabolism , Kidney/metabolism , RNA Helicases/metabolism , Up-Regulation , Animals , Glucuronidase/genetics , Hypoxia/genetics , Mice , Mice, Knockout , RNA, Small Interfering , Rats
3.
Front Immunol ; 12: 739757, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1505515

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) exhibits a sex bias with males showing signs of more severe disease and hospitalizations compared with females. The mechanisms are not clear but differential immune responses, particularly the initial innate immune response, between sexes may be playing a role. The early innate immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 have not been studied because of the gap in timing between the patient becoming infected, showing symptoms, and getting the treatment. The primary objective of the present study was to compare the response of dendritic cells (DCs) and monocytes from males and females to SARS-CoV-2, 24 h after infection. To investigate this, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from healthy young individuals were stimulated in vitro with the virus. Our results indicate that PBMCs from females upregulated the expression of HLA-DR and CD86 on pDCs and mDCs after stimulation with the virus, while the activation of these cells was not significant in males. Monocytes from females also displayed increased activation than males. In addition, females secreted significantly higher levels of IFN-α and IL-29 compared with males at 24 h. However, the situation was reversed at 1 week post stimulation and males displayed high levels of IFN-α production compared with females. Further investigations revealed that the secretion of CXCL-10, a chemokine associated with lung complications, was higher in males than females at 24 h. The PBMCs from females also displayed increased induction of CTLs. Altogether, our results suggest that decreased activation of pDCs, mDCs, and monocytes and the delayed and prolonged IFN-α secretion along with increased CXCL-10 secretion may be responsible for the increased morbidity and mortality of males to COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Dendritic Cells/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adaptive Immunity , Adult , Chemokine CXCL1/metabolism , Female , HLA-DR Antigens/metabolism , Healthy Volunteers , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Interferon-gamma/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Sex Characteristics , Up-Regulation , Young Adult
4.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 13464, 2021 06 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1500743

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that emerged in human populations recently. Severely ill COVID-19 patients exhibit the elevation of proinflammatory cytokines, and such an unbalanced production of proinflammatory cytokines is linked to acute respiratory distress syndrome with high mortality in COVID-19 patients. Our study provides evidence that the ORF3a, M, ORF7a, and N proteins of SARS-CoV-2 were NF-κB activators. The viral sequence from infected zoo lions belonged to clade V, and a single mutation of G251V is found for ORF3a gene compared to all other clades. No significant functional difference was found for clade V ORF3a, indicating the NF-κB activation is conserved among COVID-19 variants. Of the four viral proteins, the ORF7a protein induced the NF-κB dictated proinflammatory cytokines including IL-1α, IL-1ß, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, TNF-α, and IFNß. The ORF7a protein also induced IL-3, IL-4, IL-7, IL-23. Of 15 different chemokines examined in the study, CCL11, CCL17, CCL19, CCL20, CCL21, CCL22, CCL25, CCL26, CCL27, and CXCL9 were significantly upregulated by ORF7. These cytokines and chemokines were frequently elevated in severely ill COVID-19 patients. Our data provide an insight into how SARS-CoV-2 modulates NF-κB signaling and inflammatory cytokine expressions. The ORF7a protein may be a desirable target for strategic developments to minimize uncontrolled inflammation in COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Cytokines/metabolism , NF-kappa B/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Amino Acid Sequence , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Chemokines/genetics , Chemokines/metabolism , Cytokines/genetics , HeLa Cells , Humans , Point Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sequence Alignment , Severity of Illness Index , Up-Regulation , Viral Matrix Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viroporin Proteins/chemistry , Viroporin Proteins/genetics , Viroporin Proteins/metabolism
5.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 21462, 2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1500517

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). More than 143 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported to date, with the global death rate at 2.13%. Currently, there are no licensed therapeutics for controlling SARS-CoV-2 infection. The antiviral effects of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), a cytoprotective enzyme that inhibits the inflammatory response and reduces oxidative stress, have been investigated in several viral infections. To confirm whether HO-1 suppresses SARS-CoV-2 infection, we assessed the antiviral activity of hemin, an effective and safe HO-1 inducer, in SARS-CoV-2 infection. We found that treatment with hemin efficiently suppressed SARS-CoV-2 replication (selectivity index: 249.7012). Besides, the transient expression of HO-1 using an expression vector also suppressed the growth of the virus in cells. Free iron and biliverdin, which are metabolic byproducts of heme catalysis by HO-1, also suppressed the viral infection. Additionally, hemin indirectly increased the expression of interferon-stimulated proteins known to restrict SARS-CoV-2 replication. Overall, the findings suggested that HO-1, induced by hemin, effectively suppressed SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. Therefore, HO-1 could be potential therapeutic candidate for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Heme Oxygenase-1/metabolism , Hemin/therapeutic use , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Survival/drug effects , Chlorocebus aethiops , Heme Oxygenase-1/antagonists & inhibitors , Heme Oxygenase-1/genetics , Hemin/chemistry , Hemin/pharmacology , Humans , RNA Interference , RNA, Small Interfering/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Up-Regulation/drug effects , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
6.
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
7.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 20833, 2021 10 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1479812

ABSTRACT

Several single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) studies analyzing immune response to COVID-19 infection have been recently published. Most of these studies have small sample sizes, which limits the conclusions that can be made with high confidence. By re-analyzing these data in a standardized manner, we validated 8 of the 20 published results across multiple datasets. In particular, we found a consistent decrease in T-cells with increasing COVID-19 infection severity, upregulation of type I Interferon signal pathways, presence of expanded B-cell clones in COVID-19 patients but no consistent trend in T-cell clonal expansion. Overall, our results show that the conclusions drawn from scRNA-seq data analysis of small cohorts of COVID-19 patients need to be treated with some caution.


Subject(s)
Biomarkers/metabolism , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/metabolism , RNA, Small Cytoplasmic , Single-Cell Analysis , Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid , Computational Biology , Databases, Factual , Gene Expression Profiling/methods , Genome, Human , Genome, Viral , Humans , Immunity , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/cytology , RNA-Seq , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2 , Sequence Analysis, RNA/methods , Signal Transduction , Up-Regulation
8.
Front Immunol ; 12: 718136, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1468341

ABSTRACT

Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a receptor for the spike protein of SARS-COV-2 that allows viral binding and entry and is expressed on the surface of several pulmonary and non-pulmonary cell types, with induction of a "cytokine storm" upon binding. Other cell types present the receptor and can be infected, including cardiac, renal, intestinal, and endothelial cells. High ACE2 levels protect from inflammation. Despite the relevance of ACE2 levels in COVID-19 pathogenesis, experimental studies to comprehensively address the question of ACE2 regulations are still limited. A relevant observation from the clinic is that, besides the pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6 and IL-1ß, the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 is also elevated in worse prognosis patients. This could represent somehow a "danger signal", an alarmin from the host organism, given the immuno-regulatory properties of the cytokine. Here, we investigated whether IL-10 could increase ACE2 expression in the lung-derived Calu-3 cell line. We provided preliminary evidence of ACE2 mRNA increase in cells of lung origin in vitro, following IL-10 treatment. Endothelial cell infection by SARS-COV-2 is associated with vasculitis, thromboembolism, and disseminated intravascular coagulation. We confirmed ACE2 expression enhancement by IL-10 treatment also on endothelial cells. The sartans (olmesartan and losartan) showed non-statistically significant ACE2 modulation in Calu-3 and endothelial cells, as compared to untreated control cells. We observed that the antidiabetic biguanide metformin, a putative anti-inflammatory agent, also upregulates ACE2 expression in Calu-3 and endothelial cells. We hypothesized that IL-10 could be a danger signal, and its elevation could possibly represent a feedback mechanism fighting inflammation. Although further confirmatory studies are required, inducing IL-10 upregulation could be clinically relevant in COVID-19-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and vasculitis, by reinforcing ACE2 levels.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/enzymology , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/drug effects , Interleukin-10/pharmacology , Lung/drug effects , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , Cell Line , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/enzymology , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells/immunology , Humans , Lung/enzymology , Lung/immunology , Metformin/pharmacology , RNA, Messenger/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Up-Regulation
9.
Folia Neuropathol ; 59(3): 232-238, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1463957

ABSTRACT

The major route of entry for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) into human host cells is by means of the angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) transmembrane receptor. This zinc-containing carboxypeptidase and membrane-integral surface receptor is ubiquitous and widely expressed in multiple cell types. Hence SARS-CoV-2, an unusually large RNA virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has the remarkable capacity to invade many different types of human host cells simultaneously. Although COVID-19 is generally considered to be primarily an acute respiratory disease SARS-CoV-2 also targets specific anatomical regions of the central nervous system (CNS). In the normal CNS the highest ACE2 levels of expression are found within the medullary respiratory centers of the brainstem and this, in part, may explain the susceptibility of numerous COVID-19 patients to severe respiratory distress. About ~35% of all COVID-19 patients experience neurological and neuropsychiatric symptoms, and a pre-existing diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) predicts the highest risk of COVID-19 yet identified, with the highest mortality among elderly AD patients. In the current study of multiple anatomical regions of AD brains compared to age-, post-mortem interval- and gender-matched controls (n = 10 regions, n = 32 brains), ACE2 expression was found to be significantly up-regulated in AD in the occipital lobe, temporal lobe neocortex and hippocampal CA1. The temporal lobe and hippocampus of the brain are also targeted by the inflammatory neuropathology that accompanies AD, suggesting a significant mechanistic overlap between COVID-19 and AD, strongly centered on invasion by the neurotropic SARS-CoV-2 virus via the increased presence of ACE2 receptors in limbic regions of the AD-affected brain.


Subject(s)
Alzheimer Disease/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Brain/metabolism , COVID-19 , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Female , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , Up-Regulation
10.
Microbiol Spectr ; 9(2): e0126021, 2021 10 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1455683

ABSTRACT

Severe COVID-19 pneumonia has been associated with the development of intense inflammatory responses during the course of infections with SARS-CoV-2. Given that human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are known to be activated during and participate in inflammatory processes, we examined whether HERV dysregulation signatures are present in COVID-19 patients. By comparing transcriptomes of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) of COVID-19 patients and healthy controls, and peripheral blood monocytes (PBMCs) from patients and controls, we have shown that HERVs are intensely dysregulated in BALF of COVID-19 patients compared to those in BALF of healthy control patients but not in PBMCs. In particular, upregulation in the expression of specific HERV families was detected in BALF samples of COVID-19 patients, with HERV-FRD being the most highly upregulated family among the families analyzed. In addition, we compared the expression of HERVs in human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs) without and after senescence induction in an oncogene-induced senescence model in order to quantitatively measure changes in the expression of HERVs in bronchial cells during the process of cellular senescence. This apparent difference of HERV dysregulation between PBMCs and BALF warrants further studies in the involvement of HERVs in inflammatory pathogenetic mechanisms as well as exploration of HERVs as potential biomarkers for disease progression. Furthermore, the increase in the expression of HERVs in senescent HBECs in comparison to that in noninduced HBECs provides a potential link for increased COVID-19 severity and mortality in aged populations. IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2 emerged in late 2019 in China, causing a global pandemic. Severe COVID-19 is characterized by intensive inflammatory responses, and older age is an important risk factor for unfavorable outcomes. HERVs are remnants of ancient infections whose expression is upregulated in multiple conditions, including cancer and inflammation, and their expression is increased with increasing age. The significance of this work is that we were able to recognize dysregulated expression of endogenous retroviral elements in BALF samples but not in PBMCs of COVID-19 patients. At the same time, we were able to identify upregulated expression of multiple HERV families in senescence-induced HBECs in comparison to that in noninduced HBECs, a fact that could possibly explain the differences in disease severity among age groups. These results indicate that HERV expression might play a pathophysiological role in local inflammatory pathways in lungs afflicted by SARS-CoV-2 and their expression could be a potential therapeutic target.


Subject(s)
Bronchioles/virology , Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid/virology , COVID-19/pathology , Endogenous Retroviruses/growth & development , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , Bronchioles/cytology , Endogenous Retroviruses/isolation & purification , Epithelial Cells/virology , Humans , Inflammation/virology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/virology , Respiratory Mucosa/cytology , SARS-CoV-2 , Transcriptome/genetics , Up-Regulation
11.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 5819, 2021 10 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1454763

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the cause of the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The continued spread of SARS-CoV-2 increases the probability of influenza/SARS-CoV-2 coinfection, which may result in severe disease. In this study, we examine the disease outcome of influenza A virus (IAV) and SARS-CoV-2 coinfection in K18-hACE2 mice. Our data indicate enhance susceptibility of IAV-infected mice to developing severe disease upon coinfection with SARS-CoV-2 two days later. In contrast to nonfatal influenza and lower mortality rates due to SARS-CoV-2 alone, this coinfection results in severe morbidity and nearly complete mortality. Coinfection is associated with elevated influenza viral loads in respiratory organs. Remarkably, prior immunity to influenza, but not to SARS-CoV-2, prevents severe disease and mortality. This protection is antibody-dependent. These data experimentally support the necessity of seasonal influenza vaccination for reducing the risk of severe influenza/COVID-19 comorbidity during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Coinfection/immunology , Coinfection/virology , Immunity , Orthomyxoviridae Infections/immunology , Orthomyxoviridae Infections/virology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Cell Line , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Humans , Inflammation/genetics , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Up-Regulation/genetics , Viral Load/immunology
12.
Respir Res ; 22(1): 200, 2021 Jul 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1450712

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The first step in SARS-CoV-2 infection is binding of the virus to angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) on the airway epithelium. Asthma affects over 300 million people world-wide, many of whom may encounter SARS-CoV-2. Epidemiologic data suggests that asthmatics who get infected may be at increased risk of more severe disease. Our objective was to assess whether maintenance inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), a major treatment for asthma, is associated with airway ACE2 expression in asthmatics. METHODS: Large airway epithelium (LAE) of asthmatics treated with maintenance ICS (ICS+), asthmatics not treated with ICS (ICS-), and healthy controls (controls) was analyzed for expression of ACE2 and other coronavirus infection-related genes using microarrays. RESULTS: As a group, there was no difference in LAE ACE2 expression in all asthmatics vs controls. In contrast, subgroup analysis demonstrated that LAE ACE2 expression was higher in asthmatics ICS+ compared to ICS‾ and ACE2 expression was higher in male ICS+ compared to female ICS+ and ICS‾ of either sex. ACE2 expression did not correlate with serum IgE, absolute eosinophil level, or change in FEV1 in response to bronchodilators in either ICS- or ICS+. CONCLUSION: Airway ACE2 expression is increased in asthmatics on long-term treatment with ICS, an observation that should be taken into consideration when assessing the use of inhaled corticosteroids during the pandemic.


Subject(s)
Adrenal Cortex Hormones/administration & dosage , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Asthma/drug therapy , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , Respiratory Mucosa/drug effects , Administration, Inhalation , Adrenal Cortex Hormones/adverse effects , Adult , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Asthma/diagnosis , Asthma/enzymology , Asthma/genetics , COVID-19/enzymology , COVID-19/virology , Case-Control Studies , Female , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Respiratory Mucosa/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Time Factors , Up-Regulation , Virus Internalization , Young Adult
13.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(18)2021 Sep 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1409702

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic with high infectivity and mortality has caused severe social and economic impacts worldwide. Growing reports of COVID-19 patients with multi-organ damage indicated that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) may also disturb the cardiovascular system. Herein, we used human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes (iCMs) as the in vitro platform to examine the consequence of SARS-CoV2 infection on iCMs. Differentiated iCMs expressed the primary SARS-CoV2 receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme-II (ACE2) and the transmembrane protease serine type 2 (TMPRSS2) receptor suggesting the susceptibility of iCMs to SARS-CoV2. Following the infection of iCMs with SARS-CoV2, the viral nucleocapsid (N) protein was detected in the host cells, demonstrating the successful infection. Bioinformatics analysis revealed that the SARS-CoV2 infection upregulates several inflammation-related genes, including the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). The pretreatment of iCMs with TNF-α for 24 h, significantly increased the expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2, SASR-CoV2 entry receptors. The TNF-α pretreatment enhanced the entry of GFP-expressing SARS-CoV2 pseudovirus into iCMs, and the neutralization of TNF-α ameliorated the TNF-α-enhanced viral entry. Collectively, SARS-CoV2 elevated TNF-α expression, which in turn enhanced the SARS-CoV2 viral entry. Our findings suggest that, TNF-α may participate in the cytokine storm and aggravate the myocardial damage in COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , Cardiovascular Diseases/immunology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cardiovascular Diseases/virology , Cell Differentiation , Cell Line , Computational Biology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Cytokine Release Syndrome/pathology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/virology , Humans , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells , Myocardium/cytology , Myocardium/immunology , Myocardium/pathology , Myocytes, Cardiac/metabolism , Myocytes, Cardiac/virology , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/antagonists & inhibitors , Up-Regulation/immunology , Virus Internalization/drug effects
14.
Redox Biol ; 46: 102099, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1401817

ABSTRACT

The outbreak of COVID-19 has remained uncontained with urgent need for robust therapeutics. We have previously reported sex difference of COVID-19 for the first time indicating male predisposition. Males are more susceptible than females, and more often to develop into severe cases with higher mortality. This predisposition is potentially linked to higher prevalence of cigarette smoking. Nonetheless, we found for the first time that cigarette smoking extract (CSE) had no effect on angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) expression in endothelial cells. The otherwise observed worse outcomes in smokers is likely linked to baseline respiratory diseases associated with chronic smoking. Instead, we hypothesized that estrogen mediated protection might underlie lower morbidity, severity and mortality of COVID-19 in females. Of note, endothelial inflammation and barrier dysfunction are major mediators of disease progression, and development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and multi-organ failure in patients with COVID-19. Therefore, we investigated potential protective effects of estrogen on endothelial cells against oxidative stress induced by interleukin-6 (IL-6) and SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S protein). Indeed, 17ß-estradiol completely reversed S protein-induced selective activation of NADPH oxidase isoform 2 (NOX2) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production that are ACE2-dependent, as well as ACE2 upregulation and induction of pro-inflammatory gene monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) in endothelial cells to effectively attenuate endothelial dysfunction. Effects of IL-6 on activating NOX2-dependent ROS production and upregulation of MCP-1 were also completely attenuated by 17ß-estradiol. Of note, co-treatment with CSE had no additional effects on S protein stimulated endothelial oxidative stress, confirming that current smoking status is likely unrelated to more severe disease in chronic smokers. These data indicate that estrogen can serve as a novel therapy for patients with COVID-19 via inhibition of initial viral responses and attenuation of cytokine storm induced endothelial dysfunction, to substantially alleviate morbidity, severity and mortality of the disease, especially in men and post-menopause women. Short-term administration of estrogen can therefore be readily applied to the clinical management of COVID-19 as a robust therapeutic option.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Estrogens/therapeutic use , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/metabolism , Chemokine CCL2/genetics , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Female , Humans , Interleukin-6/genetics , Interleukin-6/metabolism , Male , NADPH Oxidase 2 , Reactive Oxygen Species/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Up-Regulation
15.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun ; 577: 146-151, 2021 11 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1401239

ABSTRACT

The human lung cell A549 is susceptible to infection with a number of respiratory viruses. However, A549 cells are resistant to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in conventional submerged culture, and this would appear to be due to low expression levels of the SARS-CoV-2 entry receptor: angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2). Here, we examined SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility to A549 cells after adaptation to air-liquid interface (ALI) culture. A549 cells in ALI culture yielded a layer of mucus on their apical surface, exhibited decreased expression levels of the proliferation marker KI-67 and intriguingly became susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. We found that A549 cells increased the endogenous expression levels of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 following adaptation to ALI culture conditions. Camostat, a TMPRSS2 inhibitor, reduced SARS-CoV-2 infection in ALI-cultured A549 cells. These findings indicate that ALI culture switches the phenotype of A549 cells from resistance to susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection through upregulation of ACE2 and TMPRSS2.


Subject(s)
Alveolar Epithelial Cells/virology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Culture Techniques/methods , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , A549 Cells , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/pathology , Cells, Cultured , Disease Susceptibility , Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic , Humans , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Up-Regulation/genetics
16.
Dermatology ; 237(6): 847-856, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1398749

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The innate immune system is recognized as an essential aspect of COVID-19 pathogenesis. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are important in inducing antiviral response, triggering downstream production of interferons (IFNs). Certain loss-of-function variants in TLR7 are associated with increased COVID-19 disease severity, and imiquimod (ImiQ) is known to have immunomodulating effects as an agonist of TLR7. Given that topical imiquimod (topImiQ) is indicated for various dermatologic conditions, it is necessary for dermatologists to understand the interplay between innate immunity mechanisms and the potential role of ImiQ in COVID-19, with a particular focus on TLR7. SUMMARY: Our objective was to survey recent peer-reviewed scientific literature in the PubMed database, examine relevant evidence, and elucidate the relationships between IFNs, TLR7, the innate immune system, and topImiQ in the context of COVID-19. Despite limited studies on this topic, current evidence supports the critical role of TLRs in mounting a strong immune response against COVID-19. Of particular interest to dermatologists, topImiQ can result in systemic upregulation of the immune system via activation of TLR7. Key Message: Given the role of TLR7 in the systemic activation of the immune system, ImiQ, as a ligand of the TLR7 receptor, may have potential therapeutic benefit as a topical immunomodulatory treatment for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Imiquimod/administration & dosage , Immunity, Innate , Interferons/administration & dosage , SARS-CoV-2 , Toll-Like Receptor 7/metabolism , Up-Regulation/drug effects , Adjuvants, Immunologic/pharmacology , Administration, Topical , Animals , Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/metabolism , Humans
17.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 17473, 2021 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1392888

ABSTRACT

As for all newly-emergent pathogens, SARS-CoV-2 presents with a relative paucity of clinical information and experimental models, a situation hampering both the development of new effective treatments and the prediction of future outbreaks. Here, we find that a simple virus-free model, based on publicly available transcriptional data from human cell lines, is surprisingly able to recapitulate several features of the clinically relevant infections. By segregating cell lines (n = 1305) from the CCLE project on the base of their sole angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) mRNA content, we found that overexpressing cells present with molecular features resembling those of at-risk patients, including senescence, impairment of antibody production, epigenetic regulation, DNA repair and apoptosis, neutralization of the interferon response, proneness to an overemphasized innate immune activity, hyperinflammation by IL-1, diabetes, hypercoagulation and hypogonadism. Likewise, several pathways were found to display a differential expression between sexes, with males being in the least advantageous position, thus suggesting that the model could reproduce even the sex-related disparities observed in the clinical outcome of patients with COVID-19. Overall, besides validating a new disease model, our data suggest that, in patients with severe COVID-19, a baseline ground could be already present and, as a consequence, the viral infection might simply exacerbate a variety of latent (or inherent) pre-existing conditions, representing therefore a tipping point at which they become clinically significant.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , Gene Expression Profiling/methods , Up-Regulation , COVID-19/immunology , Cell Line , Databases, Genetic , Female , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Male , Models, Biological , Models, Theoretical , Sex Characteristics
18.
Cardiovasc Pathol ; 55: 107374, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1380577

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The variability of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) illness severity has puzzled clinicians and has sparked efforts to better predict who would benefit from rapid intervention. One promising biomarker for in-hospital morbidity and mortality is cardiac troponin (cTn). METHODS: A retrospective study of 1331 adult patients with COVID-19 admitted to the Rush University System in Illinois, USA was performed. Patients without cTn measurement during their admission or a history of end stage renal disease or stage 5 chronic kidney disease were excluded. Using logistic regression adjusted for baseline characteristics, pre-existing comorbidities, and other laboratory markers of inflammation, cTn was assessed as a predictor of 60-day mortality and severe COVID-19 infection, consisting of a composite of 60-day mortality, need for intensive care unit, or requiring non-invasive positive pressure ventilation or intubation. RESULTS: A total of 772 patients met inclusion criteria. Of these, 69 (8.9%) had mild cTn elevation (> 1 to < 2x upper limit of normal (ULN)) and 46 (6.0%) had severe cTn elevation (≥ 2x ULN). Regardless of baseline characteristics, comorbidities, and initial c-reactive protein, lactate dehydrogenase, and ferritin, when compared to the normal cTn group, mild cTn elevation and severe cTn elevation were predictors of severe COVID-19 infection (adjusted OR [aOR] aOR 3.00 [CI: 1.51 - 6.29], P < 0.01; aOR 9.96 [CI: 2.75 - 64.23], P < 0.01, respectively); severe cTn elevation was a predictor of in-hospital mortality (aOR 2.42 [CI: 1.10 - 5.21], P < 0.05) and 60-day mortality (aOR 2.45 [CI: 1.13 - 5.25], P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: In our cohort, both mild and severe initial cTn elevation were predictors of severe COVID-19 infection, while only severe cTn elevation was predictive of 60-day mortality. First cTn value on hospitalization is a valuable longitudinal prognosticator for COVID-19 disease severity and mortality.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Troponin/blood , Aged , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/therapy , Female , Hospital Mortality , Humans , Illinois , Male , Middle Aged , Prognosis , Retrospective Studies , Risk Assessment , Risk Factors , Severity of Illness Index , Time Factors , Up-Regulation
19.
PLoS One ; 16(8): e0256226, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1374147

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease (COVID)-19, as a result of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, has been the direct cause of over 2.2 million deaths worldwide. A timely coordinated host-immune response represents the leading driver for restraining SARS-CoV-2 infection. Indeed, several studies have described dysregulated immunity as the crucial determinant for critical illness and the failure of viral control. Improved understanding and management of COVID-19 could greatly reduce the mortality and morbidity caused by SARS-CoV-2. One aspect of the immune response that has to date been understudied is whether lipid mediator production is dysregulated in critically ill patients. In the present study, plasma from COVID-19 patients with either severe disease and those that were critically ill was collected and lipid mediator profiles were determined using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Results from these studies indicated that plasma concentrations of both pro-inflammatory and pro-resolving lipid mediator were reduced in critically ill patients when compared with those with severe disease. Furthermore, plasma concentrations of a select group of mediators that included the specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPM) Resolvin (Rv) D1 and RvE4 were diagnostic of disease severity. Interestingly, peripheral blood SPM concentrations were also linked with outcome in critically ill patients, where we observed reduced overall concentrations of these mediators in those patients that did not survive. Together the present findings establish a link between plasma lipid mediators and disease severity in patients with COVID-19 and indicate that plasma SPM concentrations may be linked with survival in these patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Docosahexaenoic Acids/blood , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/virology , Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid , Critical Illness , Female , Ferritins/blood , Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products/analysis , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Severity of Illness Index , Tandem Mass Spectrometry , Up-Regulation
20.
Hepatology ; 74(4): 1825-1844, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1372726

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: NASH will soon become the leading cause of liver transplantation in the United States and is also associated with increased COVID-19 mortality. Currently, there are no Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs available that slow NASH progression or address NASH liver involvement in COVID-19. Because animal models cannot fully recapitulate human NASH, we hypothesized that stem cells isolated directly from end-stage liver from patients with NASH may address current knowledge gaps in human NASH pathology. APPROACH AND RESULTS: We devised methods that allow the derivation, proliferation, hepatic differentiation, and extensive characterization of bipotent ductal organoids from irreversibly damaged liver from patients with NASH. The transcriptomes of organoids derived from NASH liver, but not healthy liver, show significant up-regulation of proinflammatory and cytochrome p450-related pathways, as well as of known liver fibrosis and tumor markers, with the degree of up-regulation being patient-specific. Functionally, NASH liver organoids exhibit reduced passaging/growth capacity and hallmarks of NASH liver, including decreased albumin production, increased free fatty acid-induced lipid accumulation, increased sensitivity to apoptotic stimuli, and increased cytochrome P450 metabolism. After hepatic differentiation, NASH liver organoids exhibit reduced ability to dedifferentiate back to the biliary state, consistent with the known reduced regenerative ability of NASH livers. Intriguingly, NASH liver organoids also show strongly increased permissiveness to severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vesicular stomatitis pseudovirus as well as up-regulation of ubiquitin D, a known inhibitor of the antiviral interferon host response. CONCLUSION: Expansion of primary liver stem cells/organoids derived directly from irreversibly damaged liver from patients with NASH opens up experimental avenues for personalized disease modeling and drug development that has the potential to slow human NASH progression and to counteract NASH-related SARS-CoV-2 effects.


Subject(s)
End Stage Liver Disease/pathology , Liver/pathology , Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease/pathology , Organoids/metabolism , Adult , Aged , Biopsy , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/virology , Cell Differentiation/immunology , End Stage Liver Disease/immunology , Female , Gene Expression Profiling , Healthy Volunteers , Hepatocytes/immunology , Hepatocytes/metabolism , Humans , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/immunology , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/metabolism , Liver/cytology , Liver/immunology , Liver Regeneration , Male , Middle Aged , Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease/immunology , Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease/virology , Organoids/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Up-Regulation/immunology
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