Here, we aim to describe COVID-19 pathology across different tissues to clarify the disease's pathophysiology. Lungs, kidneys, hearts, and brains from nine COVID-19 autopsies were compared by using antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, macrophages-microglia, T-lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes, and activated platelets. Alzheimer's Disease pathology was also assessed. PCR techniques were used to verify the presence of viral RNA. COVID-19 cases had a short clinical course (0-32 days) and their mean age was 77.4 y/o. Hypoxic changes and inflammatory infiltrates were present across all tissues. The lymphocytic component in the lungs and kidneys was predominant over that of other tissues (p < 0.001), with a significantly greater presence of T-lymphocytes in the lungs (p = 0.020), which showed the greatest presence of viral antigens. The heart showed scant SARS-CoV-2 traces in the endothelium-endocardium, foci of activated macrophages, and rare lymphocytes. The brain showed scarce SARS-CoV-2 traces, prominent microglial activation, and rare lymphocytes. The pons exhibited the highest microglial activation (p = 0.017). Microthrombosis was significantly higher in COVID-19 lungs (p = 0.023) compared with controls. The most characteristic pathological features of COVID-19 were an abundance of T-lymphocytes and microthrombosis in the lung and relevant microglial hyperactivation in the brainstem. This study suggests that the long-term sequelae of COVID-19 derive from persistent inflammation, rather than persistent viral replication.

COVID-19 Pathology in the Lung, Kidney, Heart and Brain: The Different Roles of T-Cells, Macrophages, and Microthrombosis

Moretti, Matteo;Belli, Giacomo;Cavriani, Elena;Visonà, Silvia Damiana;Rossi, Michele;Fantini, Valentina;Gagliardi, Stella;Tronconi, Livio;Ceroni, Mauro
2022-01-01

Abstract

Here, we aim to describe COVID-19 pathology across different tissues to clarify the disease's pathophysiology. Lungs, kidneys, hearts, and brains from nine COVID-19 autopsies were compared by using antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, macrophages-microglia, T-lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes, and activated platelets. Alzheimer's Disease pathology was also assessed. PCR techniques were used to verify the presence of viral RNA. COVID-19 cases had a short clinical course (0-32 days) and their mean age was 77.4 y/o. Hypoxic changes and inflammatory infiltrates were present across all tissues. The lymphocytic component in the lungs and kidneys was predominant over that of other tissues (p < 0.001), with a significantly greater presence of T-lymphocytes in the lungs (p = 0.020), which showed the greatest presence of viral antigens. The heart showed scant SARS-CoV-2 traces in the endothelium-endocardium, foci of activated macrophages, and rare lymphocytes. The brain showed scarce SARS-CoV-2 traces, prominent microglial activation, and rare lymphocytes. The pons exhibited the highest microglial activation (p = 0.017). Microthrombosis was significantly higher in COVID-19 lungs (p = 0.023) compared with controls. The most characteristic pathological features of COVID-19 were an abundance of T-lymphocytes and microthrombosis in the lung and relevant microglial hyperactivation in the brainstem. This study suggests that the long-term sequelae of COVID-19 derive from persistent inflammation, rather than persistent viral replication.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1466900
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