Lower Gene Expression of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 Receptor in Lung Tissues of Smokers with COVID-19 Pneumonia.

Biomolecules
Francesca LunardiFiorella Calabrese

Abstract

Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) is the main cell entry receptor for severe acute respiratory syndrome-Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), thus playing a critical role in causing Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The role of smoking habit in the susceptibility to infection is still controversial. In this study we correlated lung ACE-2 gene expression with several clinical/pathological data to explore susceptibility to infection. This is a retrospective observational study on 29 consecutive COVID-19 autopsies. SARS-CoV-2 genome and ACE-2 mRNA expression were evaluated by real-time polymerase chain reaction in lung tissue samples and correlated with several data with focus on smoking habit. Smoking was less frequent in high than low ACE-2 expressors (p = 0.014). A Bayesian regression also including age, gender, hypertension, and virus quantity confirmed that smoking was the most probable risk factor associated with low ACE-2 expression in the model. A direct relation was found between viral quantity and ACE-2 expression (p = 0.028). Finally, high ACE-2 expressors more frequently showed a prevalent pattern of vascular injury than low expressors (p = 0.049). In conclusion, ACE-2 levels were decreased in the lung tissue of smokers...Continue Reading

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Citations

Aug 25, 2021·BMC Pulmonary Medicine·M TomchaneyF Polverino

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