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

1120 of 2911
Newswise: Americans actively engaging in collectivism as financial buoy, experts say
Released: 13-Aug-2020 11:25 AM EDT
Americans actively engaging in collectivism as financial buoy, experts say
University of Notre Dame

Karen Richman, University of Notre Dame director of undergraduate studies at the Institute for Latino Studies, and her colleague, found that many people in the U.S. are relying on informal networks of family and friends to stay afloat in a recent study.

Newswise: 240116_web.jpg
Released: 13-Aug-2020 11:20 AM EDT
Researchers identify a protein that may help SARS-CoV-2 spread rapidly through cells
Colorado State University

Eric Ross and Sean Cascarina, biochemistry and molecular biology researchers at Colorado State University, have released a research paper identifying a protein encoded by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, that may be associated with the quick spread of the virus through cells in the human body.

Newswise: 240119_web.jpg
Released: 13-Aug-2020 11:05 AM EDT
Public health consequences of policing homelessness
University of Colorado Denver

Two weeks ago, Colorado State Patrol troopers began clearing out nearly 200 residents from homeless encampments that surround the Colorado Capitol.

Released: 13-Aug-2020 10:35 AM EDT
Age discrimination seen @Twitter during #COVID19 pandemic
University of Michigan

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a perfect storm for age discrimination on social media.

Released: 13-Aug-2020 10:15 AM EDT
New COVID-19 Model Reveals Need for Better Travel Restriction Implementation
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

More strategic and coordinated travel restrictions could have reduced the spread of COVID-19 in the early stages of the pandemic, data confirms. The conclusion, available in preprint on MedRxiv, an online repository of papers that have been screened but not peer reviewed, stems from new modeling conducted by a multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Released: 13-Aug-2020 10:05 AM EDT
Four National Organizations Provide Guidance on Maintaining Essential Operations as COVID-19 Pandemic Continues
American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)

The recent resurgence of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has many states near or at bed and intensive care unit (ICU) capacity, and health care facilities’ ability to meet the ongoing needs of surgical patients may be stressed by new influxes of COVID-19 patients admitted to health care facilities. To ensure health care organizations, physicians, and nurses remain prepared to meet these demands to care for patients who undergo recommended essential operations, the American College of Surgeons (ACS), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) and American Hospital Association (AHA) have developed a Joint Statement: Roadmap for Maintaining Essential Surgery During COVID-19 Pandemic. This joint statement provides a list of principles and considerations to guide physicians, nurses, and hospitals and health systems as they provide essential care to their patients and communities. This joint statement builds on the Joint Statement:

Newswise: COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Tested at University of Kentucky Shows Positive Preclinical Results
Released: 13-Aug-2020 8:50 AM EDT
COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Tested at University of Kentucky Shows Positive Preclinical Results
University of Kentucky

PDS Biotechnology, a clinical stage immunotherapy company, has announced positive results from preclinical testing conducted at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, PDS0203.

Released: 13-Aug-2020 8:45 AM EDT
Oxygen Therapy Harms Lung Microbiome in Mice
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

New mouse study on the lung microbiome could have implications for treatment of reduced oxygen levels in critically ill patients—including those with COVID-19.

Newswise:Video Embedded slac-scientists-invent-low-cost-emergency-ventilator-and-share-the-design-for-free
VIDEO
Released: 13-Aug-2020 8:45 AM EDT
SLAC scientists invent low-cost emergency ventilator and share the design for free
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have invented an emergency ventilator that could help save the lives of patients suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

Newswise: 240021_web.jpg
Released: 13-Aug-2020 8:35 AM EDT
Scientists identify hundreds of drug candidates to treat COVID-19
University of California, Riverside

Scientists at the University of California, Riverside, have used machine learning to identify hundreds of new potential drugs that could help treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2.


Showing results

1120 of 2911

close
3.87972