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      Herpesvirus Infection of Endothelial Cells as a Systemic Pathological Axis in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

      , ,
      Viruses
      MDPI AG

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          Abstract

          Understanding the pathophysiology of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is critical for advancing treatment options. This review explores the novel hypothesis that a herpesvirus infection of endothelial cells (ECs) may underlie ME/CFS symptomatology. We review evidence linking herpesviruses to persistent EC infection and the implications for endothelial dysfunction, encompassing blood flow regulation, coagulation, and cognitive impairment—symptoms consistent with ME/CFS and Long COVID. This paper provides a synthesis of current research on herpesvirus latency and reactivation, detailing the impact on ECs and subsequent systemic complications, including latent modulation and long-term maladaptation. We suggest that the chronicity of ME/CFS symptoms and the multisystemic nature of the disease may be partly attributable to herpesvirus-induced endothelial maladaptation. Our conclusions underscore the necessity for further investigation into the prevalence and load of herpesvirus infection within the ECs of ME/CFS patients. This review offers conceptual advances by proposing an endothelial infection model as a systemic mechanism contributing to ME/CFS, steering future research toward potentially unexplored avenues in understanding and treating this complex syndrome.

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          Dynamics of Cell Generation and Turnover in the Human Heart.

          The contribution of cell generation to physiological heart growth and maintenance in humans has been difficult to establish and has remained controversial. We report that the full complement of cardiomyocytes is established perinataly and remains stable over the human lifespan, whereas the numbers of both endothelial and mesenchymal cells increase substantially from birth to early adulthood. Analysis of the integration of nuclear bomb test-derived (14)C revealed a high turnover rate of endothelial cells throughout life (>15% per year) and more limited renewal of mesenchymal cells (<4% per year in adulthood). Cardiomyocyte exchange is highest in early childhood and decreases gradually throughout life to <1% per year in adulthood, with similar turnover rates in the major subdivisions of the myocardium. We provide an integrated model of cell generation and turnover in the human heart.
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            Clonally Expanded B Cells in Multiple Sclerosis Bind EBV EBNA1 and GlialCAM

            Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a heterogenous autoimmune disease in which autoreactive lymphocytes attack the myelin sheath of the central nervous system. B lymphocytes in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with MS contribute to inflammation and secrete oligoclonal immunoglobulins1,2. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection has been epidemiologically linked to MS, but its pathological role remains unclear3. Here we demonstrate high-affinity molecular mimicry between the EBV transcription factor EBV nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) and the central nervous system protein glial cell adhesion molecule (GlialCAM) and provide structural and in vivo functional evidence for its relevance. A cross-reactive CSF-derived antibody was initially identified by single-cell sequencing of the paired-chain B cell repertoire of MS blood and CSF, followed by protein microarray-based testing of recombinantly expressed CSF-derived antibodies against MS-associated viruses. Sequence analysis, affinity measurements and the crystal structure of the EBNA1-peptide epitope in complex with the autoreactive Fab fragment enabled tracking of the development of the naive EBNA1-restricted antibody to a mature EBNA1-GlialCAM cross-reactive antibody. Molecular mimicry is facilitated by a post-translational modification of GlialCAM. EBNA1 immunization exacerbates disease in a mouse model of MS, and anti-EBNA1 and anti-GlialCAM antibodies are prevalent in patients with MS. Our results provide a mechanistic link for the association between MS and EBV and could guide the development of new MS therapies.
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              Persistent clotting protein pathology in Long COVID/Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) is accompanied by increased levels of antiplasmin

              Background Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2)-induced infection, the cause of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is characterized by acute clinical pathologies, including various coagulopathies that may be accompanied by hypercoagulation and platelet hyperactivation. Recently, a new COVID-19 phenotype has been noted in patients after they have ostensibly recovered from acute COVID-19 symptoms. This new syndrome is commonly termed Long COVID/Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC). Here we refer to it as Long COVID/PASC. Lingering symptoms persist for as much as 6 months (or longer) after acute infection, where COVID-19 survivors complain of recurring fatigue or muscle weakness, being out of breath, sleep difficulties, and anxiety or depression. Given that blood clots can block microcapillaries and thereby inhibit oxygen exchange, we here investigate if the lingering symptoms that individuals with Long COVID/PASC manifest might be due to the presence of persistent circulating plasma microclots that are resistant to fibrinolysis. Methods We use techniques including proteomics and fluorescence microscopy to study plasma samples from healthy individuals, individuals with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM), with acute COVID-19, and those with Long COVID/PASC symptoms. Results We show that plasma samples from Long COVID/PASC still contain large anomalous (amyloid) deposits (microclots). We also show that these microclots in both acute COVID-19 and Long COVID/PASC plasma samples are resistant to fibrinolysis (compared to plasma from controls and T2DM), even after trypsinisation. After a second trypsinization, the persistent pellet deposits (microclots) were solubilized. We detected various inflammatory molecules that are substantially increased in both the supernatant and trapped in the solubilized pellet deposits of acute COVID-19 and Long COVID/PASC, versus the equivalent volume of fully digested fluid of the control samples and T2DM. Of particular interest was a substantial increase in α(2)-antiplasmin (α2AP), various fibrinogen chains, as well as Serum Amyloid A (SAA) that were trapped in the solubilized fibrinolytic-resistant pellet deposits. Conclusions Clotting pathologies in both acute COVID-19 infection and in Long COVID/PASC might benefit from following a regime of continued anticlotting therapy to support the fibrinolytic system function.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
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                Journal
                VIRUBR
                Viruses
                Viruses
                MDPI AG
                1999-4915
                April 2024
                April 08 2024
                : 16
                : 4
                : 572
                Article
                10.3390/v16040572
                5389c6e9-17a9-484e-9b27-5d4e34bbfb99
                © 2024

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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