University of Utah Health

COVID-19 Causes ‘Hyperactivity’ in Blood-Clotting Cells

30-Jun-2020 12:40 PM EDT, by University of Utah Health

Newswise — Changes in blood platelets triggered by COVID-19 could contribute to the onset of heart attacks, strokes, and other serious complications in some patients who have the disease, according to University of Utah Health scientists. The researchers found that inflammatory proteins produced during infection significantly alter the function of platelets, making them “hyperactive” and more prone to form dangerous and potentially deadly blood clots.

They say better understanding the underlying causes of these changes could possibly lead to treatments that prevent them from happening in COVID-19 patients. Their report appears in Blood, an American Society of Hematology journal.

“Our finding adds an important piece to the jigsaw puzzle that we call COVID-19,” says Robert A. Campbell, Ph.D., senior author of the study and an assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine. “We found that inflammation and systemic changes, due to the infection, are influencing how platelets function, leading them to aggregate faster, which could explain why we are seeing increased numbers of blood clots in COVID patients.”

Emerging evidence suggests COVID-19 is associated with an increased risk of blood clotting, which can lead to cardiovascular problems and organ failure in some patients, particularly among those with underlying medical problems such as diabetes, obesity, or high blood pressure.

To find out what might be going on, the researchers studied 41 COVID-19 patients hospitalized at University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City. Seventeen of these patients were in the ICU, including nine who were on ventilators. They compared blood from these patients with samples taken from healthy individuals who were matched for age and sex.

Using differential gene analysis, the researchers found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, appears to trigger genetic changes in platelets. In laboratory studies, they studied platelet aggregation, an important component of blood clot formation, and observed COVID-19 platelets aggregated more readily. They also noted that these changes significantly altered how platelets interacted with the immune system, likely contributing to inflammation of the respiratory tract that may, in turn, result in more severe lung injury. 

Surprisingly, Campbell and his colleagues didn’t detect evidence of the virus in the vast majority of platelets, suggesting that it could be promoting the genetic changes within these cells indirectly. 

One possible mechanism is inflammation, according to Bhanu Kanth Manne, Ph.D., one of the study’s lead authors and a research associate with the University of Utah Molecular Medicine Program (U2M2). In theory, inflammation caused by COVID-19 could affect megakaryocytes, the cells that produce platelets. As a result, critical genetic alterations are passed down from megakaryocytes to the platelets, which, in turn, make them hyperactive.

In test tube studies, the researchers found that pre-treating platelets from SARS-CoV-2 infected patients with aspirin did prevent this hyperactivity. These findings suggest aspirin may improve outcomes; however, this will need further study in clinical trials. For now, Campbell warns against using aspirin to treat COVID-19 unless recommended by your physician.

In the meantime, the researchers are beginning to look for other possible treatments.

“There are genetic processes that we can target that would prevent platelets from being changed,” Campbell says. “If we can figure out how COVID-19 is interacting with megakaryocytes or platelets, then we might be able to block that interaction and reduce someone’s risk of developing a blood clot.”

                                                ####

 

This study titled, “Platelet Gene Expression and Function in COVID-19 Patients,” was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the University of Utah Health 3i Initiative, and the American Heart Foundation.

 

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 2911
Newswise: Obesity a Major Risk for Severe COVID-19 Cases
Released: 13-Aug-2020 4:55 PM EDT
Obesity a Major Risk for Severe COVID-19 Cases
Hackensack Meridian Health

While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that people of any age can contract COVID-19, obesity has emerged among the major risk factors for severe cases. With more than 40 percent of Americans classified as obese, experts caution that this is a growing concern.

Newswise: Ophthalmologists Anticipate a School Year Marked by Complaints of Eye Strain
Released: 13-Aug-2020 4:10 PM EDT
Ophthalmologists Anticipate a School Year Marked by Complaints of Eye Strain
American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)

The American Academy of Ophthalmology shares back-to-online school checklist to protect kids’ eyes from too much screen time.

Newswise: 240042_web.jpg
Released: 13-Aug-2020 3:05 PM EDT
A quick, cost-effective method to track the spread of COVID-19
Hokkaido University

A group of researchers have demonstrated that, from seven methods commonly used to test for viruses in untreated wastewater, an adsorption-extraction technique can most efficiently detect SARS-CoV-2. This gives us another tool to detect the presence and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Released: 13-Aug-2020 2:40 PM EDT
Technion’s Nanofiber PPE Sticker Now In Mass Production
American Technion Society

The COVID-busting ‘Maya’ sticker developed by Technion researchers has gone into mass production. Comprised of a nanofiber sheet, the unique sticker can be easily adhered to a protective mask, significantly improving its effectiveness against the novel coronavirus.

13-Aug-2020 11:00 AM EDT
Massive, rapid vaccine production will require firms to share information
University of Michigan

As the world rushes to identify safe and effective vaccines and therapeutics to counter the COVID-19 epidemic, attention is turning to the next step: manufacturing these products at enormous scale.

Released: 13-Aug-2020 1:05 PM EDT
Additive Manufacturing for COVID-19
Materials Research Society (MRS)

A new Prospective article—Additive Manufacturing for COVID-19: Devices, Materials, Prospects and Challenges—published in MRS Communications, looks at these critical supply issues and provides an overview of 3D printing and how coupling the tools in additive manufacturing (AM) and advanced materials has provided a viable alternative for rapid production and distribution of PPEs and medical devices.

Newswise: Busting Up the Infection Cycle of Hepatitis B
Released: 13-Aug-2020 12:50 PM EDT
Busting Up the Infection Cycle of Hepatitis B
University of Delaware

Researchers at the University of Delaware have gained new understanding of the virus that causes hepatitis B and the “spiky ball” that encloses the virus’s genetic blueprint. They examined how the capsid—a protein shell that protects the blueprint and also drives the delivery of it to infect a host cell—assembles itself. Scientists believe that the capsid is an important target in developing drugs to treat hepatitis B, a life-threatening and incurable infection that afflicts more than 250 million people worldwide.

Newswise: 240097_web.jpg
Released: 13-Aug-2020 12:05 PM EDT
Stay-at-home orders significantly associated with reduced spread of COVID-19, study finds
Brown University

Across the globe, COVID-19 has infected more than 18 million people to date and has killed hundreds of thousands -- and the United States has been hit especially hard.

Released: 13-Aug-2020 11:45 AM EDT
COVID-19 Symptom Tracker Ensures Privacy During Isolation
Georgetown University Medical Center

An online COVID-19 symptom tracking tool developed by researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center ensures a person’s confidentiality while being able to actively monitor their symptoms. The tool is not proprietary and can be used by entities that are not able to develop their own tracking systems.

Newswise: Support for telehealth and mobile health monitoring rises since COVID, study says
Released: 13-Aug-2020 11:25 AM EDT
Support for telehealth and mobile health monitoring rises since COVID, study says
University of Alabama Huntsville

Support for telehealth and mobile health monitoring has risen among healthcare workers and consumers since the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study. Dr. Emil Jovanov, a pioneer in the wearable health monitoring field from The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), participated and was a coauthor.


Showing results

110 of 2911

close
2.11274