Jun 2, 2020

Increased expression of ACE2, the SARS-CoV-2 entry receptor, in alveolar and bronchial epithelium of smokers and COPD subjects

MedRxiv : the Preprint Server for Health Sciences
M. JacobsKen R Bracke


Rationale: Smokers and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are at increased risk for severe Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Objectives: We investigated the expression of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) entry receptor ACE2 and the protease TMPRSS2 in lung tissue from never smokers and smokers with and without COPD. Methods: In a cross-sectional, observational study we measured mRNA expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 by RT-PCR in lung tissue samples from 120 well phenotyped subjects. Next, protein levels of ACE2 were visualized by immunohistochemistry on paraffin sections from 87 subjects and quantified in alveolar and bronchial epithelium. Finally, primary human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs) were cultured at air liquid interface and exposed to air or cigarette smoke. Results: ACE2 mRNA expression was significantly higher in lung tissue from current smokers and subjects with moderate to very severe COPD and correlated with physiological parameters of airway obstruction and emphysema. Pulmonary expression levels of TMPRSS2 were significantly higher in patients with (very) severe COPD and correlated significantly with ACE2 expression. Importantly, protein levels of ACE2 ...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Cigarette smoke (substance)
Epithelium of Bronchus
Airway Obstruction
Acute Respiratory Disease
Pathological Accumulation of Air in Tissues
S protein, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus
Peptide Hydrolases
Cross-Sectional Studies

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