Hellman U, Karlsson MG, Engström-Laurent A, Cajander S, Dorofte L, Ahlm C, Laurent C, Blomberg A
J Biol Chem 295 (45) 15418-15422 [2020-09-25; online 2020-09-25]
Severe corona virus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is characterized by inflammation of the lungs with increasing respiratory impairment. In fatal Covid-19, lungs at autopsy have been filled with a clear liquid jelly. However, the nature of this finding has not yet been determined.The aim of the study was to demonstrate if the lungs of fatal Covid-19 contain hyaluronan as it is associated with inflammation and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and may have the appearance of liquid jelly.Lung tissue obtained at autopsy from three deceased Covid-19 patients was processed for hyaluronan histochemistry using a direct staining method and compared with staining in normal lung tissue.Stainings confirmed that hyaluronan is obstructing alveoli with presence in exudate and plugs, as well as in thickened perialveolar interstitium. In contrast, normal lungs only showed hyaluronan in intact alveolar walls and perivascular tissue. This is the first study to confirm prominent hyaluronan exudates in the alveolar spaces of Covid-19 lungs, supporting the notion that the macromolecule is involved in ARDS caused by SARS-CoV-2. The present finding may open up for new treatment options in severe Covid-19, aiming at reducing the presence and production of hyaluronan in the lungs.
NA: Provided in the article: color light micrographs of autopsy lung tissue from the three Covid-19 cases