COVID-19 patients suffering from Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) are often critically ill and show lung injury and hemolysis. Heme is as prosthetic moiety crucial for the function of a wide variety of heme-proteins, including hemoglobin and cytochromes. However, injury-derived free heme promotes adhesion molecule expression, leukocyte recruitment, vascular permeabilization, platelet activation, complement activation, thrombosis, and fibrosis.
In a publication in Antioxidants, Frank Wagener, Peter Pickkers and internationals collaborators postulate that the heme-HO system represents an interesting target for novel “proof of concept” studies in the context of COVID-19. In particular, heme can be degraded by the anti-inflammatory enzyme heme oxygenase (HO) generating biliverdin/bilirubin, iron/ferritin and carbon monoxide. The RIMLS researchers therefore postulate that free heme contributes to many of the inflammatory phenomena witnessed in critically ill COVID-19 patients, whilst induction of HO-1 or harnessing heme may provide protection. HO-activity not only degrades injurious heme, but its effector molecules possess also potent salutary anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. Until a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 becomes available, novel strategies need to be explored to attenuate the pro-inflammatory, pro-thrombotic and pro-fibrotic consequences of SARS-CoV-2 leading to morbidity and mortality.
Publication in Antioxidants, by Frank Wagener, theme Reconstructive and regenerative medicine, and colleagues.
Related news items
Radboudumc research most lungs recover well after COVID-1926 November 2020
In severe COVID-19 patients the lung tissue recovers well in most cases. This is shown in research by the Radboudumc, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases. Striking conclusion: patients who were referred by the general practitioner recover worse than ICU patients.read more
Marianne Boenink has been appointed professor in Ethics of Healthcare26 November 2020
Health scientist and philosopher Marianne Boenink has been appointed professor in Ethics of Healthcare at the Radboud University/ Radboudumc, as of 1 August 2020.read more
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on (future) parents and their babies26 November 2020
While the corona crisis affects all of us, people who have just started a family or are trying to, are doing this in a sub-optimal situation. Researchers are trying to find out how the ongoing crisis is affecting them.read more
Hydroxychloroquine against malaria appears to block 'trained immunity'25 November 2020
Raphaël Duivenvoorden and colleagues have discovered an as yet unknown effect of hydroxychloroquine, which are published in Cell Reports Medicine.read more