Doctors have reported that partial or total loss of the sense of smell is often an early symptom of infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Chemical Neuroscience have shown that in mice, two proteins required for SARS-CoV-2 entry are produced by cells of the nasal cavity that contribute to odor detection. Moreover, larger amounts of the proteins are made in older animals than in younger ones.
The new coronavirus still holds many secrets, one of which is how it can cause loss of smell—even in infected people who have no other COVID-19 symptoms. SARS-CoV-2 hijacks two proteins to invade human cells: the cell surface receptor ACE2 and the protease TMPRSS2. However, scientists still aren’t sure which cells in the olfactory epithelium (the tissue lining the nasal cavity) express these proteins and could potentially be infected by the virus.
Finding out could help explain symptoms and aid in the development of more accurate diagnostic tests. So Rafal Butowt and colleagues studied the proteins’ expression in mice and how their levels change with age.
Using several methods, the researchers found that ACE2 and TMPRSS2 are expressed in sustentacular cells—cells of the nose that help transfer odors from the air to neurons. Older mice made more of the two proteins in nasal cells than younger mice. If also true in humans, this result could explain why older people are more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, the researchers say. They also note that future studies should examine whether sustentacular cells can pass the virus to neurons, which could provide SARS-CoV-2 a route to infect the brain.
Russia creates its own humanized mice to test COVID-19 vaccines and drugs
Katarzyna Bilinska et al. Expression of the SARS-CoV-2 Entry Proteins, ACE2 and TMPRSS2, in Cells of the Olfactory Epithelium: Identification of Cell Types and Trends with Age., ACS Chemical Neuroscience (2020). DOI: 10.1021/acschemneuro.0c00210
Exploring why some COVID-19 patients lose their sense of smell (2020, May 11)
retrieved 11 May 2020
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
- COVID case rates hit new high for England, study finds - April 7, 2022
- Govt’s focus on affordable healthcare ensured significant savings for poor, middle class: PM Modi - April 7, 2022
- SRL Diagnostics and Skye Air Mobility collaborate to transport pathology samples using drone logistics - April 6, 2022
- Healthineers sets up new production line of CT scanners in Bengaluru under PLI scheme - April 6, 2022
- Lupin inks licensing pact with Alvion to market drugs in Southeast Asia - April 6, 2022
- Yoga Mahotsav: Ayush Ministry to organise event to demonstrate common yoga on World Health Day - April 6, 2022
- LordsMed forays into the medtech space with launch of health ATMs ‘Lords Sehat’ - April 5, 2022
- ‘Friendly viruses’ can be the next big thing in the history of medical research and more - April 5, 2022
- No setback to Bharat Biotech even as WHO suspends Covaxin UN supply: Sources - April 4, 2022
- Govt panel recommends Serum’s Covovax dose for kids aged 12 and above - April 4, 2022