which cells of the body are susceptible to sars-cov-2 infection? Why?

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  • Ted K
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Any cell which expresses the ACE-2 protein on their surface can be infected, since the virus uses that protein to bind to cells--that binding is required for the virus to gain entry.

    Numerous cells in various tissues express ACE-2, including the type-II alveolar epithelial cells in the lung, epithelial cells in the kidney and GI tract, and endothelial cells (cells which line all blood vessels) all over the body, including lungs, heart, brain, kidney, etc.

    So, why do all these cells express the "receptor" for a virus??  Well, that's NOT why cells express ACE-2.  Normally, ACE-2 is an enzyme which helps control the levels of a hormone called angiotensin-II, which can cause lots of problems if its levels stay too high, including hypertension, oxidant stress, inflammation and thrombosis.  It's just that coronaviruses have evolved to be able to exploit the ACE-2 protein to serve their own nefarious agenda--SARS CoV-2 is not the only C-virus that does this, the first SARS CoV and MERS CoV do the same.

    So, these viruses use a normal protein to infect cells, and in doing so, they also remove it from the cells' surfaces thus creating a double whammy--not only do you have virus-infected cells and the hyperactive immune response to that infection (e.g. cytokine storm), but with less active ACE-2, you have on top of that, the effects of overactive angiotensin-II and all the problems IT can cause. Thus, patients with severe COVID-19 show widespread inflammation, and tiny blood clots all over their bodies.  This virus is WAY worse than the flu.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    IF you take just the most well known binding partner for the coronavirus attachment protein (Spike protein), then cells displaying the ANG II receptor 2 would be infectable by coronaviridae.  So cells of the respiratory, kidney, cardiovascular and nervous system.  There are many.

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