Evaluating the effects of sodium glucose co-transporter -2 inhibitors from a renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system perspective in patients infected with COVID-19: contextualizing findings from the dapagliflozin in respiratory failure in patients with COVID-19 study.
Molecular biology reports. 2022;(3):2321-2324
Numerous studies demonstrate parallels between CVD, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and COVID-19 pathology, which accentuate pre-existing complications in patients infected with COVID-19 and potentially exacerbate the infection course. Antidiabetic drugs such as sodium-glucose transporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors have garnered substantial attention recently due to their efficacy in reducing the severity of cardiorenal disease. The effect of SGLT-2 inhibitors in patients with COVID-19 remains unclear particularly since SGLT-2 inhibitors contribute to altering the RAAS cascade activity, which includes ACE-2, the major cell entry receptor for SARS-CoV2. A study, DARE-19, was carried out to unveil the effects of SGLT-2 inhibitor treatment on comorbid disease complications and concomitant COVID-19 outcomes and demonstrated no statistical significance. However, the need for further studies is essential to provide conclusive clinical findings.
The Renin-Angiotensin System: A Key Role in SARS-CoV-2-Induced COVID-19.
Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). 2021;(22)
The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), was first identified in Eastern Asia (Wuhan, China) in December 2019. The virus then spread to Europe and across all continents where it has led to higher mortality and morbidity, and was declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020. Recently, different vaccines have been produced and seem to be more or less effective in protecting from COVID-19. The renin-angiotensin system (RAS), an essential enzymatic cascade involved in maintaining blood pressure and electrolyte balance, is involved in the pathogenicity of COVID-19, since the angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2) acts as the cellular receptor for SARS-CoV-2 in many human tissues and organs. In fact, the viral entrance promotes a downregulation of ACE2 followed by RAS balance dysregulation and an overactivation of the angiotensin II (Ang II)-angiotensin II type I receptor (AT1R) axis, which is characterized by a strong vasoconstriction and the induction of the profibrotic, proapoptotic and proinflammatory signalizations in the lungs and other organs. This mechanism features a massive cytokine storm, hypercoagulation, an acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and subsequent multiple organ damage. While all individuals are vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2, the disease outcome and severity differ among people and countries and depend on a dual interaction between the virus and the affected host. Many studies have already pointed out the importance of host genetic polymorphisms (especially in the RAS) as well as other related factors such age, gender, lifestyle and habits and underlying pathologies or comorbidities (diabetes and cardiovascular diseases) that could render individuals at higher risk of infection and pathogenicity. In this review, we explore the correlation between all these risk factors as well as how and why they could account for severe post-COVID-19 complications.
Upregulation of the Renin-Angiotensin System Pathways and SARS-CoV-2 Infection: The Rationale for the Administration of Zinc-Chelating Agents in COVID-19 Patients.
The article describes the rationale for the administration of zinc-chelating agents in COVID-19 patients. In a previous work I have highlighted that the binding of the SARS-CoV spike proteins to the zinc-metalloprotease ACE2 has been shown to induce ACE2 shedding by activating the zinc-metalloprotease ADAM17, which ultimately leads to systemic upregulation of ACE2 activity. Moreover, based on experimental models, it was also shown the detrimental effect of the excessive systemic activity of ACE2 through its downstream pathways, which leads to "clinical" manifestations resembling COVID-19. In this regard, strong upregulation of circulating ACE2 activity was recently reported in COVID-19 patients, thus supporting the previous hypothesis that COVID-19 may derive from upregulation of ACE2 activity. Based on this, a reasonable hypothesis of using inhibitors that curb the upregulation of both ACE2 and ADAM17 zinc-metalloprotease activities and consequent positive feedback-loops (initially triggered by SARS-CoV-2 and subsequently sustained independently on viral trigger) is proposed as therapy for COVID-19. In particular, zinc-chelating agents such as citrate and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) alone or in combination are expected to act in protecting from COVID-19 at different levels thanks to their both anticoagulant properties and inhibitory activity on zinc-metalloproteases. Several arguments are presented in support of this hypothesis and based on the current knowledge of both beneficial/harmful effects and cost/effectiveness, the use of chelating agents in the prevention and therapy of COVID-19 is proposed. In this regard, clinical trials (currently absent) employing citrate/EDTA in COVID-19 are urgently needed in order to shed more light on the efficacy of zinc chelators against SARS-CoV-2 infection in vivo.
Use of distinct anti-hypertensive drugs and risk for COVID-19 among hypertensive people: A population-based cohort study in Southern Catalonia, Spain.
Journal of clinical hypertension (Greenwich, Conn.). 2020;(8):1379-1388
The use of some anti-hypertensive drugs in the current COVID-19 pandemic has become controversial. This study investigated possible relationships between anti-hypertensive medications use and COVID-19 infection risk in the ambulatory hypertensive population. This is a population-based retrospective cohort study involving 34 936 hypertensive adults >50 years in Tarragona (Southern Catalonia, Spain) who were retrospectively followed through pandemic period (from 01/03/2020 to 30/04/2020). Two data sets including demographic/clinical characteristics (comorbidities and cardiovascular medications use) and laboratory PCR codes for COVID-19 were linked to construct an anonymized research database. Cox regression was used to calculate multivariable hazard ratios (HRs) and estimate the risk of suffering COVID-19 infection. Across study period, 205 PCR-confirmed COVID-19 cases were observed, which means an overall incidence of 586.8 cases per 100 000 persons-period. In multivariable analyses, only age (HR: 1.03; 95% CI: 1.02-1.05; P < .001) and nursing home residence (HR: 19.60; 95% CI: 13.80-27.84; P < .001) appeared significantly associated with increased risk of COVID-19. Considering anti-hypertensive drugs, receiving diuretics (HR: 1.22; 95% CI: 0.90-1.67; P = .205), calcium channel blockers (HR: 1.29; 95%CI: 0.91-1.82; P = .148), beta-blockers (HR: 0.97; 95% CI: 0.68-1.37; P = .844), and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (HR: 0.83; 95% CI: 0.61-1.13; P = .238) did not significantly alter the risk of PCR-confirmed COVID-19, whereas receiving angiotensin II receptor blockers was associated with an almost statistically significant reduction risk (HR: 0.67; 95% CI: 0.44-1.01; P = .054). In conclusion, our data support that receiving renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors does not predispose for suffering COVID-19 infection in ambulatory hypertensive people. Conversely, receiving angiotensin II receptor blockers could be related with a reduced risk.