SARS–CoV-2 (COVID-19) infection can cause a severe respiratory distress syndrome. The risk of severe manifestations and mortality characteristically increase in the elderly and in the presence of non-COVID-19 comorbidity. We and others previously demonstrated that the low molecular weight (LMW) and protein thiol/disulfide ratio declines in human plasma with age and such decline is even more rapid in the case of inflammatory and premature aging diseases, which are also associated with the most severe complications of COVID-19 infection. The same decline with age of the LMW thiol/disulfide ratio observed in plasma appears to occur in the extracellular fluids of the respiratory tract and in association with many pulmonary diseases that characteristically reduce the concentrations and adaptive stress response of the lung glutathione. Early evidence in literature suggests that the thiol to disulfide balance of critical Cys residues of the COVID-19 spike protein and the ACE-2 receptor may influence the risk of infection and the severity of the disease, with a more oxidizing environment producing the worst prognosis. With this hypothesis paper we propose that the age-dependent decline of LMW thiol/disulfide ratio of the extracellular fluids, could play a role in promoting the physical (protein-protein) interaction of CoV-2 and the host cell in the airways. Therefore, this redox-dependent interaction is expected to affect the risk of severe infection in an age-dependent manner. The hypothesis can be verified in experimental models of in vitro CoV-2 infection and at the clinical level in that LMW thiols and protein thiolation can now be investigated with standardized, reliable and versatile laboratory protocols. Presenting the verification strategy of our hypothesis, we also discuss available nutritional and ancillary pharmacological strategies to intervene on the thiol/disulfide ratio of extracellular fluids of subjects at risk of infection and COVID-19 patients.

The age-dependent decline of the extracellular thiol-disulfide balance and its role in SARS-CoV-2 infection

Bartolini D.;Galli F.;
2021

Abstract

SARS–CoV-2 (COVID-19) infection can cause a severe respiratory distress syndrome. The risk of severe manifestations and mortality characteristically increase in the elderly and in the presence of non-COVID-19 comorbidity. We and others previously demonstrated that the low molecular weight (LMW) and protein thiol/disulfide ratio declines in human plasma with age and such decline is even more rapid in the case of inflammatory and premature aging diseases, which are also associated with the most severe complications of COVID-19 infection. The same decline with age of the LMW thiol/disulfide ratio observed in plasma appears to occur in the extracellular fluids of the respiratory tract and in association with many pulmonary diseases that characteristically reduce the concentrations and adaptive stress response of the lung glutathione. Early evidence in literature suggests that the thiol to disulfide balance of critical Cys residues of the COVID-19 spike protein and the ACE-2 receptor may influence the risk of infection and the severity of the disease, with a more oxidizing environment producing the worst prognosis. With this hypothesis paper we propose that the age-dependent decline of LMW thiol/disulfide ratio of the extracellular fluids, could play a role in promoting the physical (protein-protein) interaction of CoV-2 and the host cell in the airways. Therefore, this redox-dependent interaction is expected to affect the risk of severe infection in an age-dependent manner. The hypothesis can be verified in experimental models of in vitro CoV-2 infection and at the clinical level in that LMW thiols and protein thiolation can now be investigated with standardized, reliable and versatile laboratory protocols. Presenting the verification strategy of our hypothesis, we also discuss available nutritional and ancillary pharmacological strategies to intervene on the thiol/disulfide ratio of extracellular fluids of subjects at risk of infection and COVID-19 patients.
2021
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1504611
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