Fulminant myocarditis induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection without severe lung involvement: insights into COVID-19 pathogenesis.

Publication date: Mar 04, 2024

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection often leads to pulmonary complications. Cardiovascular sequelae, including myocarditis and heart failure, have also been reported. Here, the study presents two fulminant myocarditis cases infected by SARS-CoV-2 exhibiting remarkable elevation of cardiac biomarkers without significant pulmonary injury, as determined by imaging examinations. Immunohistochemical staining reveals viral antigen within cardiomyocytes, indicating that SARS-CoV-2 could directly infect myocardium. The full viral genomes from respiratory, anal, and myocardial specimens are obtained via next-generation sequencing. Phylogenetic analyses of the whole genome and spike gene indicate that viruses in the myocardium/pericardial effusion and anal swabs are closely related and cluster together yet diverge from those in the respiratory samples. In addition, unique mutations are found in the anal/myocardial strains compared to the respiratory strains, suggesting tissue-specific virus mutation and adaptation. These findings indicate genetically distinct SARS-CoV-2 variants have infiltrated and disseminated within myocardial tissues, independent of pulmonary injury, and point to different infection routes between the myocardium and respiratory tract, with myocardial infections potentially arising from intestinal infection. These findings highlight the potential for systemic SARS-CoV-2 infection and the importance of a thorough multi-organ assessment in patients for a comprehensive understanding of the pathogenesis of COVID-19.

Concepts Keywords
Biomarkers COVID-19
Cardiac fulminant myocarditis
Coronavirus infection
Myocarditis myocardium
Organ SARS-CoV-2

Original Article

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