COVID-19 Research Reveals Additional Link Between Immune System and Blood Clots


Blood clots are thought to occur in as many as a third of patients hospitalized with COVID-19. In many cases, these clots can be deadly, such as pulmonary embolisms blood clots that travel to the lungs. In fact, in nearly one-third of patients with COVID-19, these clots led to death.

An abnormal immune response is thought to be the primary driver of severe COVID-19. One protein, called soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor, or suPAR, circulates in the blood and originates from immune cells. It has been shown to play a major role in complications of COVID-19. A team of researchers from around the world, including Salim Hayek, M.D., Medical Director of the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center Clinics, and Shengyuan Luo, M.D., internal medicine resident physician at Rush University Medical Center, have been studying suPAR and its relationship to critical outcomes in COVID-19 cases. Researchers found that higher suPAR levels were associated with an increased risk of blood clot formation in a publication by the International Study of Inflammation in COVID-19, a multinational observational study of patients hospitalized for COVID-19.

Immune System Their new findings, published today (August 4, 2022) in the Journal of the American Heart Association, suggest that suPAR levels in hospitalized COVID patients were associated with venous thromboembolism including pulmonary embolism independently from a marker of blood clot formation called D-dimer. “Traditionally, clinicians utilize D-dimer, a blood clot breakdown product, to assess VTE activity,” Luo said. “However, this marker has proven to be less predictive in COVID-19, as blood clot formation is in large part caused by a uniquely abnormal immune response to the virus.”

The researchers, therefore, conceived that combining suPAR, a marker of the immune system, and D-dimer could improve the reliability of determining who is at high or low risk of blood clot formation among COVID hospitalized patients. “Even before the pandemic, before COVID-19, we had this idea about suPAR,” Hayek said. “We were seeing levels of the suPAR marker as the strongest risk factor for bad outcomes in other viral infections and in heart and kidney disease.” When scientists discovered the severity of blood clots forming in COVID-19 patients early in the pandemic, they turned to suPAR for more insight. Earlier studies showed that suPAR levels were three to five times higher in COVID-19 patients and often associated with disease complications.“We had previously shown that patients with high suPAR levels are at much higher risk of death, kidney injury, respiratory failure needing mechanical ventilation and now venous thromboembolism,”

Source: This news is originally published by scitechdaily



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