Obesity and diabetes as comorbidities for COVID-19: Underlying mechanisms and the role of viral–bacterial interactions

Ilja L. Kruglikov, Manasi Shah, Philipp E. Scherer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Obesity and diabetes are established comorbidities for COVID-19. Adipose tissue demonstrates high expression of ACE2 which SARS-CoV-2 exploits to enter host cells. This makes adipose tissue a reservoir for SARS-CoV-2 viruses and thus increases the integral viral load. Acute viral infection results in ACE2 downregulation. This relative deficiency can lead to disturbances in other systems controlled by ACE2, including the renin-angiotensin system. This will be further increased in the case of pre-conditions with already compromised functioning of these systems, such as in patients with obesity and diabetes. Here, we propose that interactions of virally-induced ACE2 deficiency with obesity and/or diabetes leads to a synergistic further impairment of endothelial and gut barrier function. The appearance of bacteria and/or their products in the lungs of obese and diabetic patients promotes interactions between viral and bacterial pathogens, resulting in a more severe lung injury in COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere61330
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournaleLife
Volume9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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