Extrapulmonary manifestations of COVID-19 are associated with a much higher mortality rate than pulmonary manifestations. However, little is known about the pathogenesis of systemic complications of COVID-19. Here, we create a murine model of SARS-CoV-2–induced severe systemic toxicity and multiorgan involvement by expressing the human ACE2 transgene in multiple tissues via viral delivery, followed by systemic administration of SARS-CoV-2. The animals develop a profound phenotype within 7 days with severe weight loss, morbidity, and failure to thrive. We demonstrate that there is metabolic suppression of oxidative phosphorylation and the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle in multiple organs with neutrophilia, lymphopenia, and splenic atrophy, mirroring human COVID-19 phenotypes. Animals had a significantly lower heart rate, and electron microscopy demonstrated myofibrillar disarray and myocardial edema, a common pathogenic cardiac phenotype in human COVID-19. We performed metabolomic profiling of peripheral blood and identified a panel of TCA cycle metabolites that served as biomarkers of depressed oxidative phosphorylation. Finally, we observed that SARS-CoV-2 induces epigenetic changes of DNA methylation, which affects expression of immune response genes and could, in part, contribute to COVID-19 pathogenesis. Our model suggests that SARS-CoV-2–induced metabolic reprogramming and epigenetic changes in internal organs could contribute to systemic toxicity and lethality in COVID-19.
Shen Li, Feiyang Ma, Tomohiro Yokota, Gustavo Garcia Jr., Amelia Palermo, Yijie Wang, Colin Farrell, Yu-Chen Wang, Rimao Wu, Zhiqiang Zhou, Calvin Pan, Marco Morselli, Michael A. Teitell, Sergey Ryazantsev, Gregory A. Fishbein, Johanna ten Hoeve, Valerie A. Arboleda, Joshua Bloom, Barbara Dillon, Matteo Pellegrini, Aldons J. Lusis, Thomas G. Graeber, Vaithilingaraja Arumugaswami, Arjun Deb
This file is in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. If you have not installed and configured the Adobe Acrobat Reader on your system.
PDFs are designed to be printed out and read, but if you prefer to read them online, you may find it easier if you increase the view size to 125%.
Many versions of the free Acrobat Reader do not allow Save. You must instead save the PDF from the JCI Online page you downloaded it from. PC users: Right-click on the Download link and choose the option that says something like "Save Link As...". Mac users should hold the mouse button down on the link to get these same options.