Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has been demonstrated to infect kidneys and contribute to tissue scarring by researchers from Germany and the Netherlands.
Possible long-term renal damage may have been indicated by the development of scar tissue in infected kidneys.
It is well-known that the coronavirus may cause significant harm to the human body and that it is also capable of infecting the kidneys. No one knows for sure what the infection does to the kidneys.
Researchers examined the kidney tissue of COVID-19 patients brought to the Intensive Care Unit in this study, which was reported in Cell Stem Cell. In contrast to ICU patients with non-COVID-19 lung infections and a control group, they discovered tissue scarring.
After that, the scientists wanted to know what was causing the kidney injury. Is this possible the virus's direct action, unrelated to systemic inflammation? Organoids, essentially miniature kidneys grown in a lab, was used to explore this.
Many kidney cells are present in the kidney organoids, except for immune cells, which are generated from stem cells. Researchers employed SARS-CoV-2-infected kidney organoids to directly study the virus's impact on kidney cells rather than relying on immune cells or other systemic effects.
The scarring of kidney organoids was consistent with the COVID-19 patient tissues, signaling that contributed to the scarring process.
SARS-CoV2 virus-induced scar development in the kidneys may explain the findings of another large cohort of research conducted in the United States and included over 90,000 COVID-19 survivors (Bowe et al., JASN).
That's the opinion of Radboudumc researcher Jitske Jansen "Coronavirus has been shown to cause kidney damage in several studies, but ours was the most comprehensive. Viral cell damage is evident in the kidney organoids, which do not need immune system intervention. As a result of this research, we were able to put together a picture of the virus's harmful effects on the human body."
According to RWTH Aachen Uniklinik researcher Katharina Reimer, "As a long-term side effect of kidney damage, renal scarring (or fibrosis) is a major issue that affects kidney function. Our findings suggest that COVID-19 individuals have renal scarring, which explains why the virus has been linked to kidney dysfunction in earlier research. Further understanding of SARS-CoV-2-related kidney diseases will be gained by long-term follow-up research."