Background: SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, is a threat to public health. Evidence suggests increased neutrophil activation and endothelial glycocalyx (EG) damage are independently associated with severe COVID-19. Here, we hypothesised that an increased level of blood neutrophil myeloperoxidase (MPO) is associated with soluble EG breakdown, and inhibiting MPO activity may reduce EG damage. Methods: Analysing a subset of acute and convalescent COVID-19 plasma, 10 from severe and 15 from non-severe COVID-19 cases, and 9 from pre-COVID-19 controls, we determined MPO levels, MPO activity and soluble EG proteins (syndecan-1 and glypican-1) levels by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. In vitro primary human aortic endothelial cells were cultured with plasma untreated or treated with specific MPO inhibitors (MPO-IN-28, AZD5904) to determine EG shedding. We then investigated whether inhibiting MPO activity decreased EG degradation. Results: In COVID-19 plasma, MPO levels, MPO activity and levels of soluble EG proteins are significantly raised compared to controls, and concentrations increase in proportion to disease severity. Despite clinical recovery, protein concentrations remain significantly elevated. Interestingly, there is a trend of increasing MPO activity in convalescent plasma in both severe and non-severe groups. MPO levels and MPO activity correlate significantly with soluble EG levels and inhibiting MPO activity leads to reduced syndecan-1 shedding, in vitro. Conclusions: Neutrophil MPO may increase EG shedding in COVID-19, and inhibiting MPO activity may protect against EG degradation. Further research is needed to evaluate the utility of MPO inhibitors as potential therapeutics against severe COVID-19.

Fuente: Communications Medicine
Published: 05 May 2023