The SARS-CoV2 virus, which causes COVID-19, has generated a global emergency situation. One of the targets of this virus is the endothelium, the tissue that lines the inside of all blood vessels.
In this tissue, SARS-CoV2 can cause endothelial dysfunction and an imbalance in vascular homeostasis. To assess this vascular damage, the number of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) is observed.
A new study by IDIBGI's Respiratory research group, published in the scientific journal Translational Research, shows, for the first time, an abnormal increase in EPCs in patients, three months after overcoming COVID-19. In the study, EPCs were compared with control samples of patients who have not had the disease.
The research, which was led by group leader Dr. Ramon Orriols and researcher Dr. Olga Tura, and whose first authors are researchers Paula Poyatos and Neus Luque, found no difference in the production of EPCs between patients who suffered a pulmonary embolism and those who did not suffer a pulmonary embolism during the disease.
On the other hand, when looking at PaO2 levels (arterial oxygen pressure per inspired oxygen fraction), it was observed that patients who had a lower level at the time of admission had a greater number of endothelial progenitor cells three months later. These results would confirm the presence of a post-COVID-19 vascular sequela.
Reference article: Poyatos, P. et al. Post-COVID-19 patients show an increased endothelial progenitor cell production. Translational Research (2022).