Written on Apr, 16, 2020 by in ,

At the beginning of the COVID-19 series (here), we mentioned that we will cover COVID-19’s effects on human kidney cells. In our previous post, we focused on lung cells. In this post, we will focus on COVID-19’s attacks on the kidney. This topic was triggered by a recent study that focused on 26 patients’ autopsies (1).

Many patients with kidney diseases are at higher risks for infections. For example, patients on dialysis can have weaker immune systems; patients with kidney transplants have taken immunosuppressive medications. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, clinicians have also become aware of the damaging effects on the kidney (2). According to an article from the Washington Post recently: “almost half the people hospitalized because of COVID-19 have blood or protein in their urine, indicating early damage to their kidneys” (5). Furthermore, early hospital data showed that 14-30% of ICU patients showed kidney dysfunction; some required dialysis or kidney replacement therapy (5).

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Written on Apr, 12, 2020 by in ,

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) , otherwise known as COVID-19, is an emerging coronavirus that has resulted in more than 1,846,960 reported cases globally (as of April 12, 2020 ) including more than 22,000 deaths in the US (as of April 12, 2020) (3). Although SARS and COVID-19 are similar viruses, COVID-19 appears to be highly efficient in person-to-person transmission and can cause asymptomatic infections. COVID-19 shows a wide range: asymptomatic or mild cases, progressive pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and multi-organ failure (which leads to death).

COVID-19 is a novel enveloped RNA beta-corona virus. Viral particles enter healthy human cells through interactions with specific receptor proteins in the host cells. Once entered, viral particles utilize the host cells to ramp up productions of its own protein machinery. This enables the virus to duplicate inside the host. After a period of incubation (Typically 1-5 days for cold/flu; COVID-19 has shown 1-14 days), host immune responses begin to react. The host/patient develops a cough and fever. Patients with underlying conditions may require ventilation equipments to provide oxygen to the lungs and other vital organs such as the kidney.

What are airway cells?

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Written on Dec, 11, 2019 by in

Thirty (30) years ago, exosomes were first described as extracellular vesicles (References 1 and 5). Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are cell derived membrane structures. They are secreted as a result of fusions between intracellular endosomes and the plasma membrane.  Alternatively, they are dispensed from the plasma membrane as microvesicles. Since their initial discovery, exosomes have become implicated in the mechanisms of intercellular signaling (aka. cell-to-cell signaling) and cell-to-cell maintenance of homeostasis. Since their initial discovery, EVs have gained much respect in the cell biology world. They are represented as an important mechanism of cell-to-cell communication — transferring cell membranes, cytosolic proteins, lipids, DNA, RNA, microRNA, etc.  (more…)

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