XJTU Joint Research Team of First Affiliated Hospital and Health Science Center Discovers Key Mechanism in SARS-CoV-2-induced Damage to Vascellum

2021-04-13  []


In accordance with the latest research and clinical reports, the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) includes cardiovascular complications in addition to the respiratory disease. SARS-CoV-2 infection impairs endothelial functions and induces vascular inflammation, leading to a cytokin storm syndrome (CSS), massive blood clotting, and eventually multiple organ failures. However, the molecular mechanism by which SARS-CoV-2 penetrates and damages vascular endothelial cells (ECs) remains unclear.    



To address this, Prof. Yuan Zuyi's team from the XJTU First Affiliated Hospital and Prof. Wang Shengpeng's team from the XJTU Health Science Center partnered with Prof. Uri Manor Waitt from the Advanced Biophotonics Center of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the United States, to discover that S protein damages vascular endothelial cells (ECs) in vitro and in vivo, manifested by impaired mitochondrial function, decreased angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) expression and eNOS activity, and increased glycolysis. The researchers were the first to propose a double-edged sword theory regarding the role of ACE2 in COVID-19 infections, where ACE2 both mediates SARS-CoV-2 to penetrate endothelial cells and safeguards endothelial functions.

SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein Impairs Endothelial Function via Downregulation of ACE2 was published on Circulation Research on March 31. The First Affiliated Hospital of XJTU is listed as the first-authors' affiliation. Co-first authors are graduate student Lei Yuyang and post-doctoral researcher Zhang Jiao of the First Affiliated Hospital of XJTU. Co-correspondence authors are Prof. Yuan Zuyi of the XJTU Cardiovascular Research Center and the First Affiliated Hospital of XJTU, Prof. Wang Shengpeng of XJTU Health Science Center, and Prof. Uri Manor Waitt of the Advanced Biophotonics Center of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the United States.   

Read the report: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.121.318902