Dec 18, 2020Paper

Spike Protein of SARS-CoV-2 Activates Macrophages and Contributes to Induction of Acute Lung Inflammations in Mice

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Xiaoling CaoWenbin Tan


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients exhibit multiple organ malfunctions with a primary manifestation of acute and diffuse lung injuries. The Spike protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is crucial to mediate viral entry into host cells; however, whether it can be cellularly pathogenic and contribute to pulmonary hyper-inflammations in COVID-19 is not well known. In this study, we developed a Spike protein-pseudotyped (Spp) lentivirus with the proper tropism of SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein on the surface and tracked down the fate of Spp in wild type C57BL/6J mice receiving intravenous injection of the virus. A lentivirus with vesicular stomatitis virus glycoprotein (VSV-G) was used as the control. Two hours post-infection (hpi), Spp showed more than 27-75 times more viral burden in the lungs than other organs; it also exhibited about 3-5 times more viral burden than VSV-G lentivirus in the lungs, liver, kidney and spleen. Acute pneumonia was evident in animals 24 hpi. Spp lentivirus was mainly found in LDLR+ macrophages and pneumocytes in the lungs, but not in MARC1+ macrophages. IL6, IL10, CD80 and PPAR-γ were quickly upregulated in response to infection of Spp lentivirus in the lungs in vi...Continue Reading

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