People hospitalized for Covid-19 have a very low level of stem cells in their blood, compared to people without Sars-CoV-2 infection. And among these, those with lower stem cell levels have a more than 3-fold increased chance of ICU admission or death. This is what emerges from a study published in ‘Diabetes’, conducted by the Department of Medicine of the University of Padua and coordinated by Gian Paolo Fadini, from which it emerged that hyperglycemia during Covid represents one of the causes of a reduction in circulating stem cells .
Since the beginning of the pandemic, a close relationship has emerged between diabetes mellitus and severe forms of Covid-19. Already in 2020 a study by the University of Padua – coordinated by Fadini himself, associate professor of Endocrinology and principal investigator of the Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine – had shown that patients with diabetes had a doubled probability of transfer to intensive care or death. . “Our previous studies on diabetic patients – explains Fadini – have taught us that high concentrations of glucose reduce the level of circulating hematopoietic stem cells. The release of these cells into the blood – he underlines – is necessary for the body to maintain adequate ability of tissues to repair themselves and to respond to insults “.
“Now – underlines Benedetta Bonora, researcher of the Department of Medicine of the Padua university and first author of the study – we have observed that even in patients without a history of diabetes the hyper-inflammatory state during Covid can cause hyperglycemia and that this rise in blood sugar reduces stem cells. In turn, the stem cell defect leads to a worsening of the clinical course of the disease and explains why patients with hyperglycemia upon admission to hospital risk succumbing to Covid-19 “.
The work is the result of a joint collaboration with the Infectious Diseases Unit, directed by Annamaria Cattelan, where the patients were hospitalized, and the Laboratory Medicine, directed by Daniela Basso who states: “We rarely observe such low levels of stem cells circulating in individuals without blood diseases. This is most likely one of the consequences of the abnormal immuno-activation induced by the virus, but we cannot rule out that the virus infects stem cells and kills them“.
“In our previous research – remembers Fadini – we discovered that one of the mechanisms by which hyperglycemia reduces stem cells passes through a molecule called Oncostatin M which stimulates the production of inflammatory cells and retains stem cells in the marrow, creating a vicious circle . Now we intend to verify if Oncostatin M can be a therapeutic target for the treatment of patients with Covid-19 “.
“Hyperglycemia at hospital admission was present in nearly half of patients admitted to Covid-19“, concludes Angelo Avogaro, director of Diabetology of the hospital-university of Padua, making us understand the enormous relevance of this problem in the current pandemic phase.” By expanding the knowledge on the interactions between hyperglycemia, stem cells and Covid-19, this study – he remarks – helps to identify a new potential therapeutic target to turn off the excessive immune-inflammatory response that leads patients with Sars-CoV-2 infection to develop serious complications and succumb to the virus “.
#Covid #reduces #blood #stem #cells #study