Abstract

COVID-19 affects multiple organs. Clinical data from the Mount Sinai Health System show that substantial numbers of COVID-19 patients without prior heart disease develop cardiac dysfunction. How COVID-19 patients develop cardiac disease is not known. We integrated cell biological and physiological analyses of human cardiomyocytes differentiated from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in the presence of interleukins (ILs) with clinical findings related to laboratory values in COVID-19 patients to identify plausible mechanisms of cardiac disease in COVID-19 patients. We infected hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes from healthy human subjects with SARS-CoV-2 in the absence and presence of IL-6 and IL-1b. Infection resulted in increased numbers of multinucleated cells. Interleukin treatment and infection resulted in disorganization of myofibrils, extracellular release of troponin I, and reduced and erratic beating. Infection resulted in decreased expression of mRNA encoding key proteins of the cardiomyocyte contractile apparatus. Although interleukins did not increase the extent of infection, they increased the contractile dysfunction associated with viral infection of cardiomyocytes, resulting in cessation of beating. Clinical data from hospitalized patients from the Mount Sinai Health System show that a significant portion of COVID-19 patients without history of heart disease have elevated troponin and interleukin levels. A substantial subset of these patients showed reduced left ventricular function by echocardiography. Our laboratory observations, combined with the clinical data, indicate that direct effects on cardiomyocytes by interleukins and SARS-CoV-2 infection might underlie heart disease in COVID-19 patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01063-21
JournalJournal of Virology
Volume96
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Cardiac disease
  • Cardiomyocytes
  • Computational biology
  • IL-10
  • IL-1β
  • IL-6
  • Machine learning
  • NL63
  • SARS-CoV-2

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