Endothelial glycocalyx damage as a systemic inflammatory microvascular endotheliopathy in COVID-19
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In atherosclerosis patients, vascular endothelial dysfunction is commonly observed alongside damage of the vascular endothelial glycocalyx, an extracellular matrix bound to and encapsulating the endothelial cells lining the blood vessel wall. Although atherosclerotic risk factors have been reported in severe patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the exact mechanisms are unclear. The mortality associated with the COVID-19 outbreak is increased by comorbidities, including hypertension, diabetes, obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cardiovascular disease. Besides, older individuals and smokers have significantly worse outcomes. Interestingly, these comorbidities and risk factors are consistent with the pathophysiology that causes vascular endothelial glycocalyx damage. Moreover, vascular glycocalyx dysfunction causes microvascular leakage, which results in interstitial pulmonary abnormal shadows (multiple patchy shadows with a ground glass inter-pneumonic appearance). This is frequently followed by severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), closely related to coagulo-fibrinolytic changes contributing to disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) and Kawasaki disease shock syndrome, as well as inducing activation of the coagulation cascade, leading to thromboembolism and multiple organ failure. Notably, SARS-CoV-2, the causative virus of COVID-19, binds to ACE2, which is abundantly present not only in human epithelia of the lung and the small intestine, but also in vascular endothelial cells and arterial smooth muscle cells. Moreover, COVID-19 can induce severe septic shock, and sepsis can easily lead to systemic degradation of the vascular endothelial glycocalyx. In the current review, we propose new concepts and therapeutic goals for COVID-19-related vascular endothelial glycocalyx damage, based on previous vascular endothelial medicine research.
Link to resourcehttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.bj.2020.08.007
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