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In this report, increased platelet activation and platelet–monocyte interaction was seen in patients with severe COVID-19 admitted to the ICU (n=35) but not in mild cases (n=6). Additionally, plasma from severe COVID-19 patients increased platelet activation in controls ex vivo. Platelet–monocyte interaction was found to be associated strongly with monocyte expression of tissue factor.
This study provides further insight into the pathophysiology of hypercoagulability seen in patients with COVID-19.
– Derrick Tao, MD
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2) is an emergent pathogen responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Since its emergence, the novel coronavirus has rapidly achieved pandemic proportions causing remarkably increased morbidity and mortality around the world. A hypercoagulability state has been reported as a major pathologic event in COVID-19, and thromboembolic complications listed among life-threatening complications of the disease. Platelets are chief effector cells of hemostasis and pathological thrombosis. However, the participation of platelets in the pathogenesis of COVID-19 remains elusive. This report demonstrates that increased platelet activation and platelet-monocyte aggregates formation is observed in severe COVID-19 patients, but not in patients presenting mild COVID-19 syndrome. In addition, exposure to plasma from severe COVID-19 patients increased the activation of control platelets ex vivo. In our cohort of COVID-19 patients admitted to the ICU, platelet-monocyte interaction was strongly associated with TF expression by the monocytes. Platelet activation and monocyte TF expression were associated with markers of coagulation dysfunction as fibrinogen and D-dimers, and were increased in patients requiring invasive mechanical ventilation or patients that evolved with in-hospital mortality. Finally, platelets from severe COVID-19 patients were able to induce TF expression ex vivo in monocytes from healthy volunteers, a phenomenon that was inhibited by platelet P-selectin neutralization or integrin αIIb/β3 blocking with the aggregation inhibitor abciximab. Altogether, these data shed light on new pathological mechanisms involving platelet activation and platelet-dependent monocyte TF expression, which were associated with COVID-19 severity and mortality.