A study discovers mechanisms that the coronavirus uses to attack the heart
The researchers found that inflammatory signaling pathways in cardiac myocytes were highly regulated (i.e., interleukin-6 was very elevated), suggesting a key role for these white blood cells in COVID-19 and associated inflammatory pathologies.
In addition, researchers have supported existing findings that the virus also uses the neuropilin-1 protein (NRP-1) as a gateway to cells.
Hamdani’s research shows that the coronavirus thus has several mechanisms to spread in human organs.
“SARS-CoV-2 is able to spread in the infected heart dependently and independently of the receptor.
We have also examined another mechanism by which the virus can access heart muscle cells, thus contributing to endothelial dysfunction. We will soon be able to publish these results,” hamdani concludes.
A research team from the Ruhr University of Bochum (Germany) discovered the mechanisms by which the coronavirus attacks the heart, and how it could be stopped.
According to their findings, published in the International Journal of Cardiology, this occurs mainly in patients with comorbidities such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
To track the new entry mechanism, the research team used histochemical and microscopy methods to analyze the heart tissue structures of patients suffering from COVID-19 and those who died from or with the disease.
In a first step, they provided evidence that the virus can be detected directly in heart muscle cells.
“Our observations show that the virus exerts pressure on the heart muscle, attacks and weakens the contractile force, that is, the pumping function of the heart,” explains Nazha Hamdani, one of the authors of the research.