Authors: Varga Z, Flammer AJ, Steiger P, Habrecker M, Andermatt R, Zinkernagel AS

PMID: 32325026 PMCID: PMC7172722 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30937-5


Cardiovascular complications are rapidly emerging as a key threat in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in addition to respiratory disease. The mechanisms underlying the disproportionate effect of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection on patients with cardiovascular comorbidities, however, remain incompletely understood.

SARS-CoV-2 infects the host using the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, which is expressed in several organs, including the lung, heart, kidney, and intestine. ACE2 receptors are also expressed by endothelial cells. Whether vascular derangements in COVID-19 are due to endothelial cell involvement by the virus is currently unknown. Intriguingly, SARS-CoV-2 can directly infect engineered human blood vessel organoids in vitro. Here we demonstrate endothelial cell involvement across vascular beds of different organs in a series of patients with COVID-19 (further case details are provided in the appendix).

Keywords: Endothelial cell infection, endotheliitis, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2

More on: MATH+