Overactive DNA “NETs” in COVID-19 Severely Foul Patients’ Lu
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Scientists have found that excessive release of Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in the lungs and blood vessels is one of the factors that increase the severity of COVID-19 disease.

• What are Neutrophil extracellular traps?

NETs are web-like structures, rich in host DNA, that contain modified histone proteins and granule proteins such as neutrophil elastase and myeloperoxidase.

Neutrophil elastase stimulates the release of mucus and other inflammatory cells whereas myeloperoxidase is released during the state of inflammation. Neutrophil granule proteins have been involved in a number of chronic inflammatory conditions and diseases.

• Presence of NETs in COVID-19 patients

A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine on 14 September 2020, showed the presence of NETs in patients who died due to severe complications of COVID-19.

• Presence of NETs was seen in three different regions of these patients:

1. In the airway compartment of the patients, then
2. In the interstitial compartment
3. In the blood vessels of the lungs, particularly in arterioles along with the presence of small clots of platelets, fibrin and red blood cells.

Another study published in The Lancet on 1 August 2020 also showed congestion in the micro-blood vessels due to aggregation of NETs in the deceased patients of COVID-19.

With all these research studies, scientists conclude that NETs can be formed in the lungs if the person is suffering from an infection caused by respiratory viruses.

Moreover, these NETs also have the ability to result in severe forms of COVID-19, presenting with lung damage, thrombosis and fibrosis.

1. https://rupress.org/jem/article/217/12/e20201012/152084/Neutrophil-extracellular-traps-infiltrate-the-lung
2. https://www.clinicalomics.com/news-and-features/overactive-dna-nets-in-covid-19-severely-foul-patients-lungs/
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