He coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 can accelerate aging, according to a study carried out by Spanish researchers from the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), which began in March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic by COVID-1 and whose results have recently been published in the journal Aging Cell.
Aging cells lose the ability to divide and contribute to the functioning of the body in a state known as senescence. These old cells do not disappear, but accumulate in almost all organs, where they secrete substances that deteriorate tissues, such as inflammatory molecules. New research has shown the impact of coronavirus infection on cellular aging, and has linked it to the ‘zombie cells’ or senescent.
“The most interesting thing is that these cells are metabolically hyperactive, which makes them harmful to the body by creating a chronic pro-inflammatory scenario in the tissues where they accumulate. The idea was to see if the virus, when it infects, amplifies the negative effects of senescent cells,” he explained. Cayetano von Kobbea researcher at the Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Center (CBMSO, CSIC-UAM) who has led the project.
Zombie cells favor an inflammatory environment
The studies that have been carried out later in humanized mice and susceptible to being infected with the coronavirus showed the role of senescent cells in the creation of an inflammatory environment that contributes to the development of the symptoms of COVID-19, and for this reason this work highlights how aging cells influence disease severity or mortality.
“Any therapy that kills these cells will allow us to better reach old age and better deal with opportunistic infections such as COVID, which takes advantage of the body’s aged tissues”
The researchers also looked at the ability of the virus to cause accelerated aging in us. The aging of tissues is directly related to the Persistent COVIDwhose involvement has been observed in morbidity and mortality from SARS-CoV-2 in the elderly.
Von Kobbe also wonders, “what will happen when people who have been infected reach old age with tissues that are older than normal? Hence the importance of investigating now the pathologies associated with persistent COVID ”. The study includes a new therapy based on drugs that have already been approved by the American Medicines Agency (FDA) to eliminate this type of cells. “Any therapy that kills these cells will allow us to better reach old age and better deal with opportunistic infections such as COVID, which takes advantage of the low defenses and of the aged tissues of the organism”, concludes the researcher.
Together with the CBMSO, the National Center for Biotechnology (CNB-CSIC), the Institute of Biomedicine of Seville (IBiS, CSIC-Hospital de Sevilla-Hospital Virgen del Rocío), the Autonomous and Complutense Universities of Madrid (UAM) have participated in this project. and UCM), the Cima University of Navarra, the Network Biomedical Research Center for Liver and Digestive Diseases (CIBEREHD-ISCIII), and the Madrid Institute for Advanced Studies (IMDEA-UAM).
Fuente: Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC)