The multiple extrapulmonary manifestations of the systemic COVID-19 disease are largely caused by the widespread tissue expression of SARS-CoV-2 major entry factors and the patient-specific characteristics of the COVID-19 pathobiology, which set essential directions for basic and translational research. Although SARS-CoV-2 infections mainly attack the lungs, in many cases, they can also damage other organs, such as the colon: around 60% of patients experience digestive tract impacts.
Scientists at MedUni Vienna have identified the discrepancies between Covid-19 manifestations in the colon and lungs at the molecular level. This study forms the basis for the identification of novel biomarkers and the development of new treatment strategies.
Scientists studied the singularities and commonalities in the impact of Covid-19 on the lungs and other organs. They used complex dataset analyses to recognize several molecular mechanisms in pulmonary and gastrointestinal manifestations. While SARS-CoV-2 infections of the lungs cause traditional immune system reactions, they also spontaneously ignite 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 outside the lungs, including the skin, kidneys, stomach, and heart. Up to 60% of Covid-19 patients develop gastrointestinal problems, which may indicate a more severe disease progression or a worse result. The findings of this investigation will advance our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms involved in SARS-CoV-2-induced organ- and tissue-specific responses.
Diana Mechtcheriakova, Head of the Molecular Systems Biology and Pathophysiology Research Group at MedUni Vienna, said, “Our findings can advance the identification of new biomarkers and treatment strategies for Covid-19, taking account of the specific responses in manifestations outside the lung.”