Cytokine storm in COVID-19: pathogenesis and overview of anti-inflammatory agents used in treatment.
ABSTRACT: COVID-19 infection has a heterogenous disease course; it may be asymptomatic or causes only mild symptoms in the majority of the cases, while immunologic complications such as macrophage activation syndrome also known as secondary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, resulting in cytokine storm syndrome and acute respiratory distress syndrome, may also occur in some patients. According to current literature, impairment of SARS-CoV-2 clearance due to genetic and viral features, lower levels of interferons, increased neutrophil extracellular traps, and increased pyroptosis and probable other unknown mechanisms create a background for severe disease course complicated by macrophage activation syndrome and cytokine storm. Various genetic mutations may also constitute a risk factor for severe disease course and occurrence of cytokine storm in COVID-19. Once, immunologic complications like cytokine storm occur, anti-viral treatment alone is not enough and should be combined with appropriate anti-inflammatory treatment. Anti-rheumatic drugs, which are tried for managing immunologic complications of COVID-19 infection, will also be discussed including chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, JAK inhibitors, IL-6 inhibitors, IL-1 inhibitors, anti-TNF-? agents, corticosteroids, intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), and colchicine. Early recognition and appropriate treatment of immunologic complications will decrease the morbidity and mortality in COVID-19 infection, which requires the collaboration of infectious disease, lung, and intensive care unit specialists with other experts such as immunologists, rheumatologists, and hematologists.
Project description:Aim/objective/introduction:Cytokine storm or cytokine release syndrome (CRS) is inevitable in severe and critically ill patients with novel coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19). This review aimed to discuss current therapeutic options for the management of CRS in COVID-19. Background:Cytokine storm is caused by the colossal release of proinflammatory cytokines [e.g., IL (interleukin)-2, IL-6, IL-8 TNF (tumor necrosis factor)-?, etc.] causing dysregulated, hyperimmune response. This immunopathogenesis leads to acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Targeting cytokine storm with the therapies that are already available in India with the support of published guidelines and consensus can assist in achieving a better outcome in COVID-19. Review results:We predominantly included published guidelines or consensus recommendations about the management of cytokine storm in COVID-19. From the existing literature evidence, it is observed that among the currently available agents, low-dose corticosteroids and heparin can be beneficial in managing cytokine storm. The use of serine protease inhibitors such as ulinastatin has been advised by some experts. Though therapies such as high-dose vitamin C and interleukin-6 inhibitors (e.g., tocilizumab) have been advised, the evidence regarding their use for cytokine storm in COVID-19 is limited. Therapies such as Janus kinase inhibitors (JAK) inhibitors and Neurokinin-1 receptor (NK-1) antagonists are still in research. Besides, pharmaceutical treatments, use of blood purification strategies, and convalescent plasma may be life-saving options in some of the critically ill COVID-19 patients. For these therapies, there is a need to generate further evidence to substantiate their use in CRS management. Conclusion:Current management of COVID-19 is preventive and supportive. Different therapies can be used to prevent and treat the cytokine storm. More research is needed for further supporting the use of these treatments in COVID-19. How to cite this article:Mehta Y, Dixit SB, Zirpe KG, Ansari AS. Cytokine Storm in Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Expert Management Considerations. Indian J Crit Care Med 2020;24(6):429-434.
Project description:Host excessive inflammatory immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection is thought to underpin the pathogenesis of COVID-19 associated severe pneumonitis and acute lung injury (ALI) or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Once an immunological complication like cytokine storm occurs, anti-viral based monotherapy alone is not enough. Additional anti-inflammatory treatment is recommended. It must be noted that anti-inflammatory drugs such as JAK inhibitors, IL-6 inhibitors, TNF-? inhibitors, colchicine, etc., have been either suggested or are under trials for managing cytokine storm in COVID-19 infections. Natural astaxanthin (ASX) has a clinically proven safety profile and has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties. There is evidence from preclinical studies that supports its preventive actions against ALI/ARDS. Moreover, ASX has a potent PPARs activity. Therefore, it is plausible to speculate that ASX could be considered as a potential adjunctive supplement. Here, we summarize the mounting evidence where ASX is shown to exert protective effect by regulating the expression of pro-inflammatory factors IL-1?, IL-6, IL-8 and TNF-?. We present reports where ASX is shown to prevent against oxidative damage and attenuate exacerbation of the inflammatory responses by regulating signaling pathways like NF-?B, NLRP3 and JAK/STAT. These evidences provide a rationale for considering natural astaxanthin as a therapeutic agent against inflammatory cytokine storm and associated risks in COVID-19 infection and this suggestion requires further validation with clinical studies.
Project description:The most severe presentation of COVID-19 is characterized by a hyperinflammatory state attributed to the massive pro-inflammatory cytokine release, called "cytokine storm". Several specific anti-inflammatory/immunosuppressive agents are being evaluated by ongoing clinical trials; however, there is currently insufficient evidence for their efficacy and safety in COVID-19 treatment. Given the role of phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE) 4 and cyclic adenosine monophosphate in the inflammatory response, we hypothesize that selective PDE4 inhibition may attenuate the cytokine storm in COVID-19, through the upstream inhibition of pro-inflammatory molecules, particularly TNF-?, and the regulation of the pro-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory balance. Conversely, other anti-cytokine agents lead to the downstream inhibition of specific targets, such as IL-1, IL-6 or TNF-?, and may not be efficient in blocking the cytokine storm, once it has been triggered. Due to their mechanism of action targeting an early stage of the inflammatory response and ameliorating lung inflammation, we believe that selective PDE4 inhibitors may represent a promising treatment option for the early phase of COVID-19 pneumonia before the cytokine storm and severe multiorgan dysfunction take place. Furthermore, PDE4 inhibitors present several advantages including an excellent safety profile; the oral route of administration; the convenient dosing; and beneficial metabolic properties. Interestingly, obesity and diabetes mellitus type 2 have been reported to be risk factors for the severity of COVID-19. Therefore, randomized clinical trials of PDE4 inhibitors are necessary to explore their potential therapeutic effect as an adjunct to supportive measures and other therapeutic regiments.
Project description:COVID-19 is a medical emergency, with 20 % of patients presenting with severe clinical manifestations. From the pathogenetic point of view, COVID-19 mimics two other well-known diseases characterized by cytokine storm and hyper-activation of the immune response, with consequent organ damage: acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) and macrophage activation syndrome (MAS). Hematologists are confident with these situations requiring a prompt therapeutic approach for switching off the uncontrolled cytokine release; here, we discuss pros and cons of drugs that are already employed in hematology in the light of their possible application in COVID-19. The most promising drugs might be: Ruxolitinib, a JAK1/2 inhibitor, with a rapid and powerful anti-cytokine effect, tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), with their good anti-inflammatory properties, and perhaps the anti-Cd26 antibody Begelomab. We also present immunological data from gene expression experiments where TKIs resulted effective anti-inflammatory and pro-immune drugs. A possible combined treatment algorithm for COVID-19 is here proposed.
Project description:The COVID-19-, SARS- and MERS-related coronaviruses share many genomic and structural similarities. However, the SARS-CoV-2 is less pathogenic than SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. Despite some differences in the cytokine patterns, it seems that the cytokine storm plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of COVID-19-, SARS- and MERS. Monocytes and macrophages may be infected by SARS-CoV-2 through ACE2-dependent and ACE2-independent pathways. SARS-CoV-2 can effectively suppress the anti-viral IFN response in monocytes and macrophages. Since macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs) act as antigen presenting cells (APCs), the infection of these cells by SARS-CoV-2 impairs the adaptive immune responses against the virus. Upon infection, monocytes migrate to the tissues where they become infected resident macrophages, allowing viruses to spread through all organs and tissues. The SARS-CoV-2-infected monocytes and macrophages can produce large amounts of numerous types of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, which contribute to local tissue inflammation and a dangerous systemic inflammatory response called cytokine storm. Both local tissue inflammation and the cytokine storm play a fundamental role in the development of COVID-19-related complications, such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which is a main cause of death in COVID-19 patients. Here, we describe the monocytes and macrophage responses during severe coronavirus infections, while highlighting potential therapeutic interventions to attenuate macrophage-related inflammatory reactions in possible approaches for COVID-19 treatment.
Project description:The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 associated coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) illness is a syndrome of viral replication in concert with a host inflammatory response. The cytokine storm and viral evasion of cellular immune responses may play an equally important role in the pathogenesis, clinical manifestation, and outcomes of COVID-19. Systemic proinflammatory cytokines and biomarkers are elevated as the disease progresses towards its advanced stages, and correlate with worse chances of survival. Immune modulators have the potential to inhibit cytokines and treat the cytokine storm. A literature search using PubMed, Google Scholar, and ClinicalTrials.gov was conducted through 8 July 2020 using the search terms 'coronavirus', 'immunology', 'cytokine storm', 'immunomodulators', 'pharmacology', 'severe acute respiratory syndrome 2', 'SARS-CoV-2', and 'COVID-19'. Specific immune modulators include anti-cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-1 and IL-6 receptor antagonists (e.g. anakinra, tocilizumab, sarilumab, siltuximab), Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors (e.g. baricitinib, ruxolitinib), anti-tumor necrosis factor-? (e.g. adalimumab, infliximab), granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factors (e.g. gimsilumab, lenzilumab, namilumab), and convalescent plasma, with promising to negative trials and other data. Non-specific immune modulators include human immunoglobulin, corticosteroids such as dexamethasone, interferons, statins, angiotensin pathway modulators, macrolides (e.g. azithromycin, clarithromycin), hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, colchicine, and prostaglandin D2 modulators such as ramatroban. Dexamethasone 6 mg once daily (either by mouth or by intravenous injection) for 10 days may result in a reduction in mortality in COVID-19 patients by one-third for patients on ventilators, and by one-fifth for those receiving oxygen. Research efforts should focus not only on the most relevant immunomodulatory strategies but also on the optimal timing of such interventions to maximize therapeutic outcomes. In this review, we discuss the potential role and safety of these agents in the management of severe COVID-19, and their impact on survival and clinical symptoms.
Project description:The global COVID-19 pandemic has oversaturated many intensive care units to the point of collapse, leading to enormous spikes in death counts. Before critical care becomes a necessity, identifying patients who are likely to become critically ill and providing prompt treatment is a strategy to avoid ICU oversaturation. There is a consensus that a hyperinflammatory syndrome or a "cytokine storm" is responsible for poor outcomes in COVID-19. Measuring cytokine levels at the point of care is required in order to better understand this process. In this Perspective, we summarize the main events behind the cytokine storm in COVID-19 as well as current experimental treatments. We advocate for a new biosensor-enabled paradigm to personalize the management of COVID-19 and stratify patients. Biosensor-guided dosing and timing of immunomodulatory therapies could maximize the benefits of these anti-inflammatory treatments while minimizing deleterious effects. Biosensors will also be essential in order to detect complications such as coinfections and sepsis, which are common in immunosuppressed patients. Finally, we propose the ideal features of these biosensors using some prototypes from the recent literature as examples. Multisensors, lateral flow tests, mobile biosensors, and wearable biosensors are seen as key players for precision medicine in COVID-19.
Project description:<b>Introduction</b>: The novel coronavirus has caused significant mortality worldwide and is primarily associated with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Apart from ARDS, clinical reports have shown noticeable cardiovascular complications among the patients of COVID-19. Infection from virus, stimulation of cytokine storm, altered immune response, and damage to myocardial tissue are some of the proposed mechanisms of cardiovascular complications in COVID-19.<b>Areas covered</b>: Based on the clinical reports of CVDs among COVID-19 patients, we have discussed the molecular mechanisms involved in cardiovascular pathogenesis, its prevalence, and association with COVID-19, and various available therapeutic modality for the treatment.<b>Expert opinion</b>: Seeing the cardiovascular complications in COVID-19 patients and its association with the existing drug, risk-benefit ratio of treatment paradigm, as well as the level of cardiac injury biomarkers must be monitored regularly. Additionally, a well-designed clinical trial should be conducted where head to head comparison can be made with anti-COVID-19 drugs and cardioprotective anti-inflammatory drugs. Nevertheless, vaccines are the best-suited approach, but until then, sanitization, social distancing, and active lifestyle are the best ways to beat this global pandemic situation.
Project description:The outbreak of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the current world health concern, presenting a public health dilemma with ascending morbidity and mortality rates exceeding any previous viral spread, without a standard effective treatment yet. SARS-CoV-2 infection is distinguished with multiple epidemiological and pathological features, one of them being the elevated levels of cytokine release, which in turn trigger an aberrant uncontrolled response known as "cytokine storm". This phenomenon contributes to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), leading to pneumonia and respiratory failure, which is considered a major contributor to COVID-19-associated fatality rates. Taking into account that the vast majority of the COVID-19 cases are aggravated by the respiratory and multiorgan failure triggered by the sustained release of cytokines, implementing therapeutics that alleviate or diminish the upregulated inflammatory response would provide a therapeutic advantage to COVID-19 patients. Indeed, dexamethasone, a widely available and inexpensive corticosteroid with anti-inflammatory effects, has shown a great promise in reducing mortality rates in COVID-19 patients. In this review, we have critically compared the clinical impact of several potential therapeutic agents that could block or interfere with the cytokine storm, such as IL-1 inhibitors, IL-6 inhibitors, mast cell targeting agents, and corticosteroids. This work focused on highlighting and contrasting the current success and limitations towards the involvement of these agents in future treatment protocols.
Project description:The description of a so-called cytokine storm in patients with COVID-19 has prompted consideration of anti-cytokine therapies, particularly interleukin-6 antagonists. However, direct systematic comparisons of COVID-19 with other critical illnesses associated with elevated cytokine concentrations have not been reported. In this Rapid Review, we report the results of a systematic review and meta-analysis of COVID-19 studies published or posted as preprints between Nov 1, 2019, and April 14, 2020, in which interleukin-6 concentrations in patients with severe or critical disease were recorded. 25 COVID-19 studies (n=1245 patients) were ultimately included. Comparator groups included four trials each in sepsis (n=5320), cytokine release syndrome (n=72), and acute respiratory distress syndrome unrelated to COVID-19 (n=2767). In patients with severe or critical COVID-19, the pooled mean serum interleukin-6 concentration was 36·7 pg/mL (95% CI 21·6-62·3 pg/mL; I2=57·7%). Mean interleukin-6 concentrations were nearly 100 times higher in patients with cytokine release syndrome (3110·5 pg/mL, 632·3-15?302·9 pg/mL; p<0·0001), 27 times higher in patients with sepsis (983·6 pg/mL, 550·1-1758·4 pg/mL; p<0·0001), and 12 times higher in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome unrelated to COVID-19 (460 pg/mL, 216·3-978·7 pg/mL; p<0·0001). Our findings question the role of a cytokine storm in COVID-19-induced organ dysfunction. Many questions remain about the immune features of COVID-19 and the potential role of anti-cytokine and immune-modulating treatments in patients with the disease.