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Saturday, April 1, 2023

COVID-19 causes aging in cells, according to a Spanish study

Senescence is a state in which aged cells lose their ability to divide and contribute to the functioning of an organism. However, they do not disappear, but over the years they accumulate in almost all organs, where they secrete inflammatory molecules and enzymes that degrade tissues. Now, a study led by the Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Center (CBMSO, CSIC-UAM) highlights the importance of considering the impact of the pro-inflammatory environment generated by these cells on the effects caused by COVID-19.

magazine aging cell publishes this project, which started in March 2020. Following a grant from the Carlos III Institute of Health, 16 researchers from eight different institutions began studying the relationship between the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the symptoms caused by senescent cells. Because of their behavior, they are known as zombie cells.

“Most interestingly, these cells are metabolically hyperactive, making them most harmful to the body by creating a chronic pro-inflammatory landscape in the tissues where they accumulate. The idea was to see if viruses, When it is infected, it amplifies the negative effects of senescent cells”, explains Caetano von Kobe, the CBMSO researcher leading the project.

Subsequent studies in humanized mice, and therefore susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, showed a role for senescent cells in the creation of an inflammatory environment that contributes to the development of COVID-19 symptoms. For this reason, this project in which they have participated together with CBMSO, National Center for Biotechnology (CNB-CSIC), Seville Institute of Biomedicine (IBIS, CSIC-Sevilla Hospital-Virgen del Rocío Hospital), autonomous universities and Complutense University of Madrid (UAM and UCM), Sima University of Navarra, Network Biomedical Research Center for Liver and Digestive Diseases (CIBEREHD-ISCII), and Madrid Institute for Advanced Studies (IMDEA-UAM) highlight the importance of the elderly. cells on mortality and morbidity induced by SARS-CoV-2, which can be extrapolated from data obtained from the Covid-19 pandemic.

association with persistent COVID

In CBMSO’s P3 Biosafety Laboratory, researchers also observed that the virus can make us age faster. Tissue aging is directly related to persistent Covid (also called post-Covid syndrome), and although it does not show immediate effects in adults, it contributes to the morbidity and mortality from SARS-CoV-2 seen in people. Shows more effect. Big. In addition, “what will happen when people who are infected reach old age with older-than-normal tissues? So it is now increasingly important to screen for covid-associated pathology,” says von Kobe.

The study involves a new therapy based on drugs already approved by the US Drug Agency (FDA) to eliminate these types of cells. Currently, research is being done against senescent cells: either through drugs that kill them or inhibit their metabolic activity, or through a vaccine that induces a specific immune response that kills them. ends life progressively and efficiently, as von Kobe claims.

“Any therapy that kills these cells will allow us to better approach old age and better deal with opportunistic infections such as COVID, which take advantage of the body’s diminished defenses and aged tissues,” the researchers concluded.

reference: Andres Pastor-Fernandez, Antonio R. Bertos, Arantzazu Sierra-Ramirez, Javier del Moral-Salmoral, Javier Merino et al – ‘Treatment with the senolytics dasatinib/quercetin reduces SARS-CoV-2-associated mortality in mice’. Aging Cell Magazine, January 2023 | DOI: 10.111./acl.12771,

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