Research Brief: A new approach to averting inflammation caused by COVID-19

May 12, 2020

Severe COVID-19 illness can result in excessive inflammation throughout the body, including the lungs, heart and brain. University of Minnesota Twin Cities student Molly Gilligan recently published an article in the journal Cancer & Metastasis Reviews that studied the human body's robust inflammatory response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is now recognized as a hallmark symptom.

According to the publication, controlling the body's inflammatory response to SARS-CoV-2 will likely be as important as antiviral therapies or a potential vaccine. Individual mediators -- called cytokines -- cause inflammation in response to tissue injury or infection. Mediators are a substance or structure that mediates a specific response in a bodily tissue.

Rather than blocking cytokines, medical staff could turn off virus-induced inflammation by broadly activating the body's natural inflammation-clearing activities.

"We are now recognizing the importance of controlling this robust inflammatory response in COVID-19 infection in order to reduce associated organ damage and mortality," said Gilligan, a student at the Medical School. "Finding new ways to dampen the body's inflammatory response to COVID-19 will likely be as important as finding effective antiviral therapies to control COVID-19 infection and reduce life-threatening organ damage."

"Moreover, these compounds have been found to be non-toxic and non-immunosuppressive in ongoing clinical trials for other inflammatory diseases, making them even more promising candidates for rapid clinical translation," said Gilligan.

The research found that:Increasing levels of these lipid mediators in the body could be a new therapeutic approach to preventing life-threatening inflammation caused by SARS-CoV-2.

"What is exciting for us is that these lipid mediators that 'turn off,' or resolve, inflammation are already in clinical trials for other inflammation-driven diseases, such as eye disease, periodontal disease and pain," said Dipak Panigrahy, an assistant professor of pathology in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "The mediators can quickly be applied to turn off inflammation in COVID-19 patients."
-end-
About the University of Minnesota Medical School

The University of Minnesota Medical School is at the forefront of learning and discovery, transforming medical care and educating the next generation of physicians. Our graduates and faculty produce high-impact biomedical research and advance the practice of medicine. Visit med.umn.edu to learn how the University of Minnesota is innovating all aspects of medicine.

University of Minnesota

Related Brain Articles from Brightsurf:

Glioblastoma nanomedicine crosses into brain in mice, eradicates recurring brain cancer
A new synthetic protein nanoparticle capable of slipping past the nearly impermeable blood-brain barrier in mice could deliver cancer-killing drugs directly to malignant brain tumors, new research from the University of Michigan shows.

Children with asymptomatic brain bleeds as newborns show normal brain development at age 2
A study by UNC researchers finds that neurodevelopmental scores and gray matter volumes at age two years did not differ between children who had MRI-confirmed asymptomatic subdural hemorrhages when they were neonates, compared to children with no history of subdural hemorrhage.

New model of human brain 'conversations' could inform research on brain disease, cognition
A team of Indiana University neuroscientists has built a new model of human brain networks that sheds light on how the brain functions.

Human brain size gene triggers bigger brain in monkeys
Dresden and Japanese researchers show that a human-specific gene causes a larger neocortex in the common marmoset, a non-human primate.

Unique insight into development of the human brain: Model of the early embryonic brain
Stem cell researchers from the University of Copenhagen have designed a model of an early embryonic brain.

An optical brain-to-brain interface supports information exchange for locomotion control
Chinese researchers established an optical BtBI that supports rapid information transmission for precise locomotion control, thus providing a proof-of-principle demonstration of fast BtBI for real-time behavioral control.

Transplanting human nerve cells into a mouse brain reveals how they wire into brain circuits
A team of researchers led by Pierre Vanderhaeghen and Vincent Bonin (VIB-KU Leuven, Université libre de Bruxelles and NERF) showed how human nerve cells can develop at their own pace, and form highly precise connections with the surrounding mouse brain cells.

Brain scans reveal how the human brain compensates when one hemisphere is removed
Researchers studying six adults who had one of their brain hemispheres removed during childhood to reduce epileptic seizures found that the remaining half of the brain formed unusually strong connections between different functional brain networks, which potentially help the body to function as if the brain were intact.

Alcohol byproduct contributes to brain chemistry changes in specific brain regions
Study of mouse models provides clear implications for new targets to treat alcohol use disorder and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Scientists predict the areas of the brain to stimulate transitions between different brain states
Using a computer model of the brain, Gustavo Deco, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, and Josephine Cruzat, a member of his team, together with a group of international collaborators, have developed an innovative method published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Sept.

Read More: Brain News and Brain Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.