CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan researchers find key to COVID-19-induced blood clots

09/15/2022 05:03 PM
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Graphic: Academia Sinica
Graphic: Academia Sinica

Taipei, Sept. 15 (CNA) An Academia Sinica research team has identified two key receptors that could provide a roadmap for treating blood clots caused by COVID-19, and long-term complications associated with the disease.

The team led by Hsieh Shie-liang (謝世良) sought to uncover the mechanism behind the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NET), a contributing factor in thrombosis among COVID-19 patients.

In studies of dengue fever patients, Hsieh's team had previously found platelets caused the release of extracellular vesicles (EVs) that enhanced NET formation via two receptors -- CLEC5A and TLR2.

Hsieh's team hypothesized that this mechanism also contributed to blood clots in critically ill COVID-19 patients with high levels of platelet-derived EVs.

The team compared the EVs of healthy donors and of COVID-19 patients, and found that the former did not induce NET formation.

Using mice as test subjects, the team found that while the SARS-CoV-2 virus alone induced NET formation, the presence of platelets increased this significantly.

According to the team, these findings showed platelets were a potent enhancer of SARS-CoV-2-induced NET formation.

Mice with CLEC5A or TLR2 knocked out demonstrated inhibited SARS-CoV-2-induced NET formation, while mice with both receptors blocked saw NET formation almost completely suppressed, the team said.

The team added that the results were consistent with or without the presence of platelets, which proved the critical role the two receptors played in SARS-CoV-2-induced NET formation.

Hsieh said that targeting CLEC5A and TLR2 could provide a promising roadmap for future studies on alleviating blood clots caused by COVID-19 and long-term complications associated with COVID-19

The research was published in the July 11th edition of Journal of Biomedical Science.

(By Sean Lin and Wu Hsin-yun)

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