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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 03, 2024  1 month, 2 weeks, 4 days, 1 hour, 20 minutes ago

BREAKING COVID-19 News! SARS-Cov-2 Impairs Oxygen Delivery By Altering Red Blood Cell Hematological, Hemorheological, And Oxygen Transport Properties!

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BREAKING COVID-19 News! SARS-Cov-2 Impairs Oxygen Delivery By Altering Red Blood Cell Hematological, Hemorheological, And Oxygen Transport Properties!
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 03, 2024  1 month, 2 weeks, 4 days, 1 hour, 20 minutes ago
COVID-19 News: The relentless march of the COVID-19 pandemic has unveiled various facets of its impact on human health. Among the myriad complications associated with this viral infection, a groundbreaking study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore-USA that is covered in this COVID-19 News report, has shed light on a critical aspect - the profound alterations in red blood cell (RBC) properties and physiology. The findings present a compelling narrative on how SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, disrupts the delicate balance of oxygen homeostasis within the body.

It should be noted that the cumulative effect of RBC impairments in COVID-19 patients implies a considerable strain on the cardiovascular system!

SARS-CoV-2 Alters Red Blood Cells And Affects Oxygen Transportation

Red Blood Cells - Unsung Heroes of Oxygen Homeostasis
Red blood cells, or erythrocytes, hold a pivotal role in maintaining oxygen (O2) homeostasis by regulating O2 sensing, uptake, transport, and delivery. The intricate dance between the number of RBCs and the concentration of hemoglobin (Hb) in these cells defines their O2-carrying capacity. This dynamic equilibrium adapts to varying oxygen availability and metabolic demands, ensuring a stable O2 delivery. Beyond their role in modulating Hb-O2 affinity, RBCs actively contribute to O2 delivery homeostasis by influencing blood flow through both signaling and biophysical effects.
The COVID-19 Conundrum - Unraveling the Impact on RBCs
COVID-19, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is characterized by a disturbance in O2 delivery homeostasis. The study hypothesized that the virus directly influences RBC properties, affecting hematological parameters, O2 transport characteristics, rheology, and the hypoxic vasodilatory reflex. The investigation involved analyzing RBCs from 18 hospitalized COVID-19 subjects and 20 healthy controls using a comprehensive approach.
Clinical Hematologic Parameters - Unveiling Differences
Compared to healthy controls, COVID-19 subjects exhibited significant hematological differences, including an increased white blood cell (WBC) count with a higher percentage of neutrophils. Moreover, COVID-19 subjects displayed alterations in red blood cell distribution width (RDW), hematocrit (HCT), Hb concentration, mean corpuscular volume (MCV), and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC). Notably, the changes indicated a microcytic hypochromic anemia, a common finding in COVID-19 patients.
Hemorheological Parameters - A Closer Look at Rheology
The study delved into hemorheological parameters, revealing that RBCs from COVID-19 subjects demonstrated altered ability to regulate cell volume and reduced deformability. These changes were associated with accelerated RBC aggregation kinetics, indicating potential impairments in blood flow. The rheological alterations were notably more pronounced in blood-type O hospitalized COVID-19 subjects compared to blood-typ e A.
RBC Oxygen Transport Parameters - A Balancing Act
Examining oxygen transport parameters, the study found that COVID-19 subjects showed diminished O2-carrying capacity and O2 capacitance, resulting from anemia. Importantly, the reduction in O2 capacitance indicated a burden on the cardiovascular system to compensate for impaired blood O2 transport. The findings suggested that the cardiac output in COVID-19 patients would need to increase significantly to maintain O2 delivery homeostasis.
RBC Vasoactivity (HVD Response) - A Surprising Consistency
Despite the myriad changes in RBC properties, the hypoxic vasodilatory (HVD) reflex, a crucial mechanism for regulating blood flow, remained surprisingly consistent between healthy controls and COVID-19 subjects. This unexpected finding indicated that, despite alterations in other aspects of RBC physiology, the ability to induce vasodilation under hypoxic conditions was not compromised in COVID-19 patients.
Blood Type Influence - Unraveling a Connection
Considering the known association between blood type and COVID-19 susceptibility, the study explored whether blood type influenced RBC properties. Intriguingly, the altered RBC features in hospitalized COVID-19 subjects were found to be more pronounced in blood-type O individuals compared to those with blood type A. This finding contradicted the previously suggested protective role of blood-type O in terms of disease severity.
Discussion - Deciphering the Implications
The study's comprehensive exploration of RBC properties in COVID-19 subjects provides valuable insights into the complex interplay between the virus and the cardiovascular system. The observed alterations in hematological parameters, rheology, and oxygen transport highlight the multifaceted impact of SARS-CoV-2 on RBC physiology. The exaggerated effects in blood-type O individuals suggest a potential connection between blood type and the severity of RBC-related impairments in COVID-19 patients.
Implications for O2 Delivery Homeostasis - A Strain on the Cardiovascular System
The cumulative effect of RBC impairments in COVID-19 patients implies a considerable strain on the cardiovascular system. The study estimates that the cardiac output in COVID-19 subjects would need to increase by approximately 135% to maintain O2 delivery similar to that in healthy controls. This increased demand on the cardiovascular system could contribute to the pathogenesis of the disease, potentially exacerbating its severity.
Limitations and Future Directions
Acknowledging the limitations of the study, including a relatively small sample size and the influence of comorbidities and medications, the findings raise important questions for future research. Longitudinal studies tracking RBC features beyond the acute phase of infection could provide insights into the long-term implications for COVID-19 survivors. Additionally, exploring the mechanisms underlying the observed blood type-related differences in RBC impairments warrants further investigation.
In conclusion, the study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine advances our understanding of the intricate relationship between COVID-19 and red blood cells. The observed alterations in RBC properties, encompassing hematological parameters, rheology, and oxygen transport, paint a detailed picture of the physiological challenges faced by COVID-19 patients. The study not only highlights the immediate impact of the virus on oxygen delivery homeostasis but also opens avenues for future research into the long-term consequences for survivors. As we continue to unravel the mysteries of COVID-19, the role of red blood cells emerges as a critical player in the intricate web of the virus's pathophysiology.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: Frontiers in Physiology.
For the latest COVID-19 News, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.
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