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Understanding the genetic architecture of host proteins interacting with SARS-CoV-2 or mediating the maladaptive host response to COVID-19 can help to identify new or repurpose existing drugs targeting those proteins. We present a genetic discovery study of 179 such host proteins among 10,708 individuals using an aptamer-based technique. We identify 220 host DNA sequence variants acting in cis (MAF 0.01-49.9%) and explaining 0.3-70.9% of the variance of 97 of these proteins, including 45 with no previously known protein quantitative trait loci (pQTL) and 38 encoding current drug targets. Systematic characterization of pQTLs across the phenome identified protein-drug-disease links and evidence that putative viral interaction partners such as MARK3 affect immune response. Our results accelerate the evaluation and prioritization of new drug development programmes and repurposing of trials to prevent, treat or reduce adverse outcomes. Rapid sharing and detailed interrogation of results is facilitated through an interactive webserver ( https://omicscience.org/apps/covidpgwas/ ).
OBJECTIVE - To quantify and contextualize the risk for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related hospitalization and illness severity in type 1 diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - We conducted a prospective cohort study to identify case subjects with COVID-19 across a regional health care network of 137 service locations. Using an electronic health record query, chart review, and patient contact, we identified clinical factors influencing illness severity.
RESULTS - We identified COVID-19 in 6,138, 40, and 273 patients without diabetes and with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, respectively. Compared with not having diabetes, people with type 1 diabetes had adjusted odds ratios of 3.90 (95% CI 1.75-8.69) for hospitalization and 3.35 (95% CI 1.53-7.33) for greater illness severity, which was similar to risk in type 2 diabetes. Among patients with type 1 diabetes, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA), hypertension, race, recent diabetic ketoacidosis, health insurance status, and less diabetes technology use were significantly associated with illness severity.
CONCLUSIONS - Diabetes status, both type 1 and type 2, independently increases the adverse impacts of COVID-19. Potentially modifiable factors (e.g., HbA) had significant but modest impact compared with comparatively static factors (e.g., race and insurance) in type 1 diabetes, indicating an urgent and continued need to mitigate severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection risk in this community.
© 2020 by the American Diabetes Association.
OBJECTIVE - Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) reduces exercise capacity, but the mechanisms are incompletely understood. We probed the impact of ischemic stress on skeletal muscle metabolite signatures and T2DM-related vascular dysfunction.
METHODS - we recruited 38 subjects (18 healthy, 20 T2DM), placed an antecubital intravenous catheter, and performed ipsilateral brachial artery reactivity testing. Blood samples for plasma metabolite profiling were obtained at baseline and immediately upon cuff release after 5 min of ischemia. Brachial artery diameter was measured at baseline and 1 min after cuff release.
RESULTS - as expected, flow-mediated vasodilation was attenuated in subjects with T2DM (P<0.01). We confirmed known T2DM-associated baseline differences in plasma metabolites, including homocysteine, dimethylguanidino valeric acid and β-alanine (all P<0.05). Ischemia-induced metabolite changes that differed between groups included 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (healthy: -27%; DM +14%), orotic acid (healthy: +5%; DM -7%), trimethylamine-N-oxide (healthy: -51%; DM +0.2%), and glyoxylic acid (healthy: +19%; DM -6%) (all P<0.05). Levels of serine, betaine, β-aminoisobutyric acid and anthranilic acid were associated with vessel diameter at baseline, but only in T2DM (all P<0.05). Metabolite responses to ischemia were significantly associated with vasodilation extent, but primarily observed in T2DM, and included enrichment in phospholipid metabolism (P<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS - our study highlights impairments in muscle and vascular signaling at rest and during ischemic stress in T2DM. While metabolites change in both healthy and T2DM subjects in response to ischemia, the relationship between muscle metabolism and vascular function is modified in T2DM, suggesting that dysregulated muscle metabolism in T2DM may have direct effects on vascular function.
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society.
The limited availability of human heart tissue and its complex cell composition are major limiting factors for the reliable testing of drug efficacy and toxicity. Recently, we developed functional human and pig heart slice biomimetic culture systems that preserve the viability and functionality of 300 μm heart slices for up to 6 days. Here, we tested the reliability of this culture system for testing the cardiotoxicity of anti-cancer drugs. We tested three anti-cancer drugs (doxorubicin, trastuzumab, and sunitinib) with known different mechanisms of cardiotoxicity at three concentrations and assessed the effect of these drugs on heart slice viability, structure, function and gene expression. Slices incubated with any of these drugs for 48 h showed diminished in viability as well as loss of cardiomyocyte structure and function. Mechanistically, RNA sequencing of doxorubicin-treated tissues demonstrated a significant downregulation of cardiac genes and upregulation of oxidative stress responses. Trastuzumab treatment downregulated cardiac muscle contraction-related genes consistent with its clinically known effect on cardiomyocytes. Interestingly, sunitinib treatment resulted in significant downregulation of angiogenesis-related genes, in line with its mechanism of action. Similar to hiPS-derived-cardiomyocytes, heart slices recapitulated the expected toxicity of doxorubicin and trastuzumab, however, slices were superior in detecting sunitinib cardiotoxicity and mechanism in the clinically relevant concentration range of 0.1-1 μM. These results indicate that heart slice culture models have the potential to become a reliable platform for testing and elucidating mechanisms of drug cardiotoxicity.
Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Cardiac injury, as measured by troponin elevation, has been reported among hospitalized coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients and portends a poor prognosis. However, how the dynamics of troponin elevation interplay with inflammation and coagulation biomarkers over time is unknown. We assessed longitudinal follow-up of cardiac injury, inflammation and coagulation markers in relation to disease severity and outcome.
METHODS - We retrospectively assessed 2068 patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 between January 29 and April 1, 2020 at Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, China. We defined cardiac injury as an increase in high sensitivity cardiac troponin-I (hs-cTnI) above the 99th of the upper reference limit. We explored the dynamics of elevation in hs-cTnI and the relationship with inflammation (interleukin [IL]-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-2 receptor, tumor necrosis factor-α, C-reactive protein) and coagulation (d-dimer, fibrinogen, international normalized ratio) markers in non-critically ill versus critically ill patients longitudinally and further correlated these markers to survivors and non-survivors.
RESULTS - Median age was 63 years (first to third quartile 51-70 years), 51.4% of whom were women. When compared to non-critically ill patients (N = 1592, 77.0%), critically ill (defined as requiring mechanical ventilation, in shock or multiorgan failure) patients (N = 476, 23.0%), had more frequent cardiac injury on admission (30.3% vs. 2.3%, p < 0.001), with increased mortality during hospitalization (38.4% vs. 0%, p < 0.001). Among critically ill patients, non-survivors (N = 183) had a continuous increase in hs-cTnI levels during hospitalization, while survivors (N = 293) showed a decrease in hs-cTnI level between day 4 and 7 after admission. Specifically, cardiac injury is an independent marker of mortality among critically ill patients at admission, day 4-7 and 8-14. Consistent positive correlations between hs-cTnI and interleukin (IL)-6 on admission (r = 0.59), day 4-7 (r = 0.66) and day 8-14 (r = 0.61; all p < 0.001) and d-dimer (at the same timepoints r = 0.54; 0.65; 0.61, all p < 0.001) were observed. A similar behavior was observed between hs-cTnI and most of other biomarkers of inflammation and coagulation.
CONCLUSIONS - Cardiac injury commonly occurs in critically ill COVID-19 patients, with increased levels of hs-cTnI beyond day 3 since admission portending a poor prognosis. A consistent positive correlation of hs-cTnI with IL-6 and d-dimer at several timepoints along hospitalization could suggest nonspecific cytokine-mediated cardiotoxicity.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Background There has been significant controversy regarding the effects of pre-hospitalization use of renin-angiotensin system (RAS) inhibitors on the prognosis of hypertensive COVID-19 patients. Methods and Results We retrospectively assessed 2,297 hospitalized COVID-19 patients at Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, China, from January 10 to March 30, 2020; and identified 1,182 patients with known hypertension on pre-hospitalization therapy. We compared the baseline characteristics and in-hospital mortality between hypertensive patients taking RAS inhibitors (N=355) versus non-RAS inhibitors (N=827). Of the 1,182 hypertensive patients (median age 68 years, 49.1% male), 12/355 (3.4%) patients died in the RAS inhibitors group vs. 95/827 (11.5%) patients in the non-RAS inhibitors group (p<0.0001). Adjusted hazard ratio for mortality was 0.28 (95% CI 0.15-0.52, p<0.0001) at 45 days in the RAS inhibitors group compared with non-RAS inhibitors group. Similar findings were observed when patients taking angiotensin receptor blockers (N=289) or angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (N=66) were separately compared with non-RAS inhibitors group. The RAS inhibitors group compared with non-RAS inhibitors group had lower levels of C-reactive protein (median 13.5 vs. 24.4 pg/mL; p=0.007) and interleukin-6 (median 6.0 vs. 8.5 pg/mL; p=0.026) on admission. The protective effect of RAS inhibitors on mortality was confirmed in a meta-analysis of published data when our data were added to previous studies (odd ratio 0.44, 95% CI 0.29-0.65, p<0.0001). Conclusions In a large single center retrospective analysis we observed a protective effect of pre-hospitalization use of RAS inhibitors on mortality in hypertensive COVID-19 patients; which might be associated with reduced inflammatory response.
Background Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) constitutes half of hospitalized heart failure cases and is commonly associated with obesity. The role of natriuretic peptide levels in hospitalized obese patients with HFpEF, however, is not well defined. We sought to evaluate change in NT-proBNP (N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide) levels by obesity category and related clinical outcomes in patients with HFpEF hospitalized for acute heart failure. Methods and Results A total of 89 patients with HFpEF hospitalized with acute decompensated heart failure were stratified into 3 obesity categories: nonobese (body mass index [BMI] <30.0 kg/m, 19%), obese (BMI 30.0-39.9 kg/m, 29%), and severely obese (BMI ≥40.0 kg/m, 52%), and compared for percent change in NT-proBNP during hospitalization and clinical outcomes. Clinical characteristics were compared between patients with normal NT-proBNP (≤125 pg/mL) and elevated NT-proBNP. Admission NT-proBNP was inversely related to BMI category (nonobese, 2607 pg/mL [interquartile range, IQR: 2112-5703]; obese, 1725 pg/mL [IQR: 889-3900]; and severely obese, 770.5 pg/mL [IQR: 128-1268]; <0.01). Severely obese patients had the largest percent change in NT-proBNP with diuresis (-64.8% [95% CI, -85.4 to -38.9] versus obese -40.4% [95% CI, -74.3 to -12.0] versus nonobese -46.9% [95% CI, -57.8 to -37.4]; =0.03). Nonobese and obese patients had significantly worse 1-year survival compared with severely obese patients (63% versus 76% versus 95%, respectively; <0.01). Patients with normal NT-proBNP (13%) were younger, with higher BMI, less atrial fibrillation, and less structural heart disease than those with elevated NT-proBNP. Conclusions In hospitalized patients with HFpEF, NT-proBNP was inversely related to BMI with the largest decrease in NT-proBNP seen in the highest obesity category. These findings have implications for the role of NT-proBNP in the diagnosis and assessment of treatment response in obese patients with HFpEF.
BACKGROUND - Evidence from longitudinal patient studies regarding gut microbial changes after bariatric surgery is limited.
OBJECTIVE - To examine intraindividual changes in fecal microbiome and metabolites among patients undergoing Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or vertical sleeve gastrectomy.
SETTING - Observational study.
METHODS - Twenty patients were enrolled and provided stool samples before and 1 week, 1 month, and/or 3 months after surgery. Shallow shotgun metagenomics and untargeted fecal metabolomics were performed. Zero-inflated generalized additive models and linear mixed models were applied to identify fecal microbiome and metabolites changes, with adjustment for potential confounders and correction for multiple testing.
RESULTS - We enrolled 16 women and 4 men, including 16 white and 4 black participants (median age = 45 years; presurgery body mass index = 47.7 kg/m). Ten patients had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, 10 had vertical sleeve gastrectomy, and 14 patients provided postsurgery stool samples. Of 47 samples, median sequencing depth was 6.3 million reads and 1073 metabolites were identified. Microbiome alpha-diversity increased after surgery, especially at 3 months. Significant genus-level changes included increases in Odoribacter, Streptococcus, Anaerotruncus, Alistipes, Klebsiella, and Bifidobacterium, while decreases in Bacteroides, Coprocosccus, Dorea, and Faecalibacterium. Large increases in Streptococcus, Akkermansia, and Prevotella were observed at 3 months. Beta-diversity and fecal metabolites were also changed, including reduced caffeine metabolites, indoles, and butyrate.
CONCLUSIONS - Despite small sample size and missing repeated samples in some participants, our pilot study showed significant postsurgery changes in fecal microbiome and metabolites among bariatric surgery patients. Future large-scale, longitudinal studies are warranted to investigate gut microbial changes and their associations with metabolic outcomes after bariatric surgery.
Copyright © 2020 American Society for Bariatric Surgery. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Smokers have lower risk of obesity, which some consider a "beneficial" side effect of smoking. However, some studies suggest that smoking is simultaneously associated with higher central adiposity and, more specifically, ectopic adipose deposition. Little is known about the association of smoking with intermuscular adipose tissue (IMAT), an ectopic adipose depot associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and a key determinant of muscle quality and function. We tested the hypothesis that smokers have higher abdominal IMAT and lower lean muscle quality than never smokers.
METHODS AND FINDINGS - We measured abdominal muscle total, lean, and adipose volumes (in cubic centimeters) and attenuation (in Hounsfield units [HU]) along with subcutaneous (SAT) and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) volumes using computed tomography (CT) in 3,020 middle-aged Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) participants (age 42-58, 56.3% women, 52.6% white race) at the year 25 (Y25) visit. The longitudinal CARDIA study was initiated in 1985 with the recruitment of young adult participants (aged 18-30 years) equally balanced by female and male sex and black and white race at 4 field centers located in Birmingham, AL, Chicago, IL, Minneapolis, MN, and Oakland, CA. Multivariable linear models included potential confounders such as physical activity and dietary habits along with traditional CVD risk factors. Current smokers had lower BMI than never smokers. Nevertheless, in the fully adjusted multivariable model with potential confounders, including BMI and CVD risk factors, adjusted mean (95% CI) IMAT volume was 2.66 (2.55-2.76) cm3 in current smokers (n = 524), 2.36 (2.29-2.43) cm3 in former smokers (n = 944), and 2.23 (2.18-2.29) cm3 in never smokers (n = 1,552) (p = 0.007 for comparison of former versus never smoker, and p < 0.001 for comparison of current smoker versus never and former smoker). Moreover, compared to participants who never smoked throughout life (41.6 [41.3-41.9] HU), current smokers (40.4 [39.9-40.9] HU) and former smokers (40.8 [40.5-41.2] HU) had lower lean muscle attenuation suggesting lower muscle quality in the fully adjusted model (p < 0.001 for comparison of never smokers with either of the other two strata). Among participants who had ever smoked, pack-years of smoking exposure were directly associated with IMAT volume (β [95% CI]: 0.017 [0.010-0.025]) (p < 0.001). Despite having less SAT, current smokers also had higher VAT/SAT ratio than never smokers. These findings must be viewed with caution as residual confounding and/or reverse causation may contribute to these associations.
CONCLUSIONS - We found that, compared to those who never smoked, current and former smokers had abdominal muscle composition that was higher in adipose tissue volume, a finding consistent with higher CVD risk and age-related physical deconditioning. These findings challenge the belief that smoking-associated weight loss or maintenance confers a health benefit.