Background: Thrombogenicity is a known complication of COVID-19, resulting from SARS-Cov-2 infection, with significant effects on morbidity and mortality. Objective: We aimed to better understand the effects of COVID-19 on fibrinogen and the resulting effects on clot structure, formation and degradation. Methods: Fibrinogen isolated from COVID-19 patients and uninfected subjects was used to form uniformly concentrated clots (2 mg/mL), which were characterized using confocal microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and endogenous and exogenous fibrinolysis assays. Neuraminidase digestion and subsequent NANA assay were used to quantify sialic acid residue presence; clots made from the desialylated fibrinogen were then assayed similarly to the original fibrinogen clots. Results: Clots made from purified fibrinogen from COVID-19 patients were shown to be significantly stiffer and denser than clots made using fibrinogen from non-infected subjects. Endogenous and exogenous fibrinolysis assays demonstrated that clot polymerization and degradation dynamics were different for purified fibrinogen from COVID-19 patients compared to fibrinogen from non-infected subjects. Quantification of sialic acid residues via the NANA assay demonstrated that SARS-Cov-2-positive fibrinogen samples contained significantly more sialic acid. Desialylation via neuraminidase digestion resolved differences in clot density. Desialylation did not normalize differences in polymerization, but did affect rate of exogenous fibrinolysis. Discussion: These differences noted in purified SARS-Cov-2-positive clots demonstrate that structural differences in fibrinogen, and not just differences in gross fibrinogen concentration, contribute to clinical differences in thrombotic features associated with COVID-19. These structural differences are at least in part mediated by differential sialylation.

Fuente: Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis
First published: 16 September 2022