Vascular endothelium is a thin monolayer of cells that constitute the lining of blood vessels and organs (1-3). A hallmark of many diseases (e.g., cancer, diabetes mellitus, viral infections, etc) is highlighted in the dysfunctional states of the vascular endothelium. Vascular endothelial cells line the entire circulatory system — heart, large blood vessels, and small capillaries (1). And the cells form the barrier between blood and organ tissues (3).
Notable functions of the vascular endothelium:
1) Controls and regulates vascular relaxation and constriction;
2) Regulates homeostasis of solutes, fluid, macromolecules, hormones, platelets, and blood cells;
3) Directs “foreign materials” to inflammatory cell types;
4) Regulates blood fluidity;Continue Reading...
Cytokine Storms is a complex multicellular inflammatory phenomenon. It is a biological consequence of cytokine overproduction in the human body; it is associated with a variety of infectious and noninfectious diseases. In the most severe cases, it is fatal to the patients.
What is Cytokine Storm?
The word “Cytokine” is derived from Greek words, cell (for cyto) and movement (for kinos or kinin).
“Cytokine Storm” is an overreaction of the human body’s immune system and it can be fatal to the patient. This overreaction is a severe immune reaction where too many pro-inflammatory cytokines are released into the blood in an uncontrolled manner (2).Continue Reading...
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).Continue Reading...