Cardiac damage, even after recovery, has been reported in COVID-19, with nearly 50% of mildly ill patients having echocardiogram abnormalities. This preprint investigated the cellular alterations that occur after SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro of cardiomyocytes derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells. The authors show that cardiomyocytes can be infected by SARS-CoV-2 and that this results in marked cytoskeletal, inflammatory and proteasomal alterations at the transcriptional level. Infected cardiomyocytes increase cytokine production and have pronounced myofibrillar fragmentation. Fragmentation was also observed in uninfected cardiomyocytes in vitro and in post-mortem cardiac tissue. Cytoskeletal fragmentation in the absence of infection might indicate putative effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines and stress responses on long-term cardiac changes in COVID-19.
Pérez-Bermejo, J. A. et al. SARS-CoV-2 infection of human iPSC-derived cardiac cells predicts novel cytopathic features in hearts of COVID-19 patients. Preprint at bioRxiv https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.08.25.265561 (2020)
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Richter, F.C. At the heart of COVID-19. Nat Rev Immunol 20, 719 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41577-020-00468-w