A message from the human placenta: structural and immunomodulatory defense against SARS-CoV-2

  • The outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused a global public health crisis. Viral infections may predispose pregnant women to a higher rate of pregnancy complications, including preterm births, miscarriage and stillbirth. Despite reports of neonatal COVID-19, definitive proof of vertical transmission is still lacking. In this review, we summarize studies regarding the potential evidence for transplacental transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), characterize the expression of its receptors and proteases, describe the placental pathology and analyze virus-host interactions at the maternal-fetal interface. We focus on the syncytium, the barrier between mother and fetus, and describe in detail its physical andstructuraldefenseagainstviralinfections. Wefurtherdiscussthepotentialmolecularmechanisms, whereby the placenta serves as a defense front against pathogens by regulating the interferon type III signaling, microRNA-triggered autophagy and the nuclear factor-κB pathway. Based on these data, we conclude that vertical transmission may occur but rare, ascribed to the potent physical barrier, the fine-regulatedplacentalimmunedefenseandmodulationstrategies. Particularly,immunomodulatory mechanismsemployedbytheplacentamaymitigateviolentimmuneresponse,maybesoftencytokine storm tightly associated with severely ill COVID-19 patients, possibly minimizing cell and tissue damages, and potentially reducing SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

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Author:Nina-Naomi KreisORCiDGND, Andreas Hans RitterORCiDGND, Frank LouwenORCiDGND, Juping YuanORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Cells
Place of publication:Basel
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2020/07/25
Date of first Publication:2020/07/25
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/09/03
Tag:COVID-19; NF-κB pathway; SARS-CoV-2; immune defense; interferon type III; miRNA; placenta; vertical transmission
Issue:8, art. 1777
Page Number:24
First Page:1
Last Page:24
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0