A comparison between SARS-CoV-2 and Gram-negative bacte- 1 ria-induced hyperinflammation and sepsis
Keywords: 
ARDS
Aspidasept
COVID-19 pandemic
Gram-negative bacteria
TLR4
Cytokines
Hyperinflammation
Lipopolysaccharide
Sepsis
Issue Date: 
2023
Publisher: 
MDPI
ISSN: 
1422-0067
Note: 
This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license
Citation: 
Brandenburg, K. (Klaus); Ferrer-Espada, R. (Raquel); Martinez-de-Tejada, G. (Guillermo); et al. "A comparison between SARS-CoV-2 and Gram-negative bacte- 1 ria-induced hyperinflammation and sepsis". International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 24 (20), 2023, 15169
Abstract
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition caused by the body's overwhelming response to an infection, such as pneumonia or urinary tract infection. It occurs when the immune system releases cytokines into the bloodstream, triggering widespread inflammation. If not treated, it can lead to organ failure and death. Unfortunately, sepsis has a high mortality rate, with studies reporting rates ranging from 20% to over 50%, depending on the severity and promptness of treatment. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the annual death toll in the world is about 11 million. One of the main toxins responsible for inflammation induction are lipopolysaccharides (LPS, endotoxin) from Gram-negative bacteria, which rank among the most potent immunostimulants found in nature. Antibiotics are consistently prescribed as a part of anti-sepsis-therapy. However, antibiotic therapy (i) is increasingly ineffective due to resistance development and (ii) most antibiotics are unable to bind and neutralize LPS, a prerequisite to inhibit the interaction of endotoxin with its cellular receptor complex, namely Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)/MD-2, responsible for the intracellular cascade leading to pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion. The pandemic virus SARS-CoV-2 has infected hundreds of millions of humans worldwide since its emergence in 2019. The COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease-19) caused by this virus is associated with high lethality, particularly for elderly and immunocompromised people. As of August 2023, nearly 7 million deaths were reported worldwide due to this disease. According to some reported studies, upregulation of TLR4 and the subsequent inflammatory signaling detected in COVID-19 patients "mimics bacterial sepsis". Furthermore, the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 was described by others as "mirror image of sepsis". Similarly, the cytokine profile in sera from severe COVID-19 patients was very similar to those suffering from the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and sepsis. Finally, the severe COVID-19 infection is frequently accompanied by bacterial co-infections, as well as by the presence of significant LPS concentrations. In the present review, we will analyze similarities and differences between COVID-19 and sepsis at the pathophysiological, epidemiological, and molecular levels.

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