Study reports effects of COVID-19 on colon

The multiple extrapulmonary manifestations of systemic COVID-19 disease are largely caused by widespread tissue expression of major SARS-CoV-2 entry factors and patient-specific features of COVID-19 pathobiology, which establish critical guidance for basic and translational research. Although SARS-CoV-2 infections primarily attack the lungs, in many cases they can also damage other organs, such as the colon: approximately 60% of patients experience impacts to the digestive tract.

MedUni Vienna scientists have identified the discrepancies between the manifestations of Covid-19 in the colon and the lungs at the molecular level. This study forms the basis for the identification of new biomarkers and the development of new treatment strategies.

Scientists have studied the singularities and commonalities of Covid-19’s impact on the lungs and other organs. They used analyzes of complex datasets to recognize several molecular mechanisms in pulmonary and gastrointestinal manifestations. While SARS-CoV-2 infections of the lungs elicit traditional immune system reactions, they also spontaneously trigger liver and lipid metabolism responses in the gastrointestinal tract.

The unique structure of the virus is what causes SARS-CoV-2 infections to frequently manifest in additional organs besides the lungs, including the skin, kidneys, stomach, and heart. Up to 60% of patients with Covid-19 develop gastrointestinal problems, which may indicate more severe disease progression or a worse outcome. The results of this investigation will advance our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms involved in the organ- and tissue-specific responses induced by SARS-CoV-2.

Diana Mechtcheriakova, Head of Molecular Systems Biology and Pathophysiology Research Group at MedUni Vienna, said: “Our findings may advance the identification of novel biomarkers and treatment strategies for Covid-19, taking into account specific responses in manifestations outside of the lung.”

Journal reference:

  1. Anastasia Meshcheryakova, Philip Zimmermann, Martina Salzmann, Peter Pietschmann, Diana Meshcheriakova. Singularity and commonalities in response to SARS-CoV-2 in lung and colon cell models. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2022; 23(18):10451 DOI:10.3390/ijms231810451

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