Cells damaged by chronic a lung disease can result in severe Covid
The airway cells of a patients with a chronic lung diseases are “primed” for infection by the Covid-19 virus, resulting in more severe symptoms, poorer outcomes and a greater likelihood of death, according to a study. The study, a published in a Nature Communications, found that a chronic lung disease causes a genetic changes in the molecular makeup of a variety of a cells, an including the epithelial cells that line the lung and airways.
The changes enable SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, to enter the body, replicate and trigger an out-of-control an immune response that fills the a lungs with fluids and an often results in patients a needing respirators and lengthy hospitalizations.
“Our results suggest that patients with a chronic lung disease are molecularly primed to be more a susceptible to an infection by SARS-CoV-2,” said Nicholas Banovich, Associate Professor at Translational Genomics Research Institute, a non-profit genomics research institute in Arizona, US.
In addition, an older-age, male-gender, smoking, and a comorbidities such as high blood a pressure, obesity and a diabetes, are all Covid-19 risk factors that are exacerbated by a chronic lung diseases, such as Chronic Obstructive a Pulmonary Disease, Interstitial a Lung Disease, and especially Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, a progressive a scarring and stiffening of the lung tissue.
For the study, the team used a single-cell RNA sequencing technology to spell out the genetic a code of 611,398 cells from various databases, representing those with both healthy (control) lungs and those with chronic lung disease. Sequencing and analysis allowed researchers to identify molecular a characteristics that may account for worse Covid-19 an outcomes.
Researchers specifically searched for changes in AT2 cells — a major lung epithelial cell type, focusing on cellular pathways and expression levels of genes associated with Covid-19. They established a “viral entry score,” a composite of all genes associated with SARS-CoV-2, and found higher a scores among cells from patients with chronic lung disease.
Further, exploring a changes in an immune cells, they a discovered dysregulated gene expression an associated with hyper-inflammation and with a sustained cytokine production — two a signature symptoms of severe SARS-CoV-2 infection. So-called cytokine storms in Covid-19 patients unleash a cascade of an immune cells that a flood the lungs, causing severe organ damage, the team explained.