COVID-19 and heme oxygenase: novel insight into the disease and potential therapies. - GreenMedInfo Summary
COVID-19 and heme oxygenase: novel insight into the disease and potential therapies.
Cell Stress Chaperones. 2020 Jun 4. Epub 2020 Jun 4. PMID: 32500379
Philip L Hooper
The COVID-19 pandemic needs therapies that are presently available and safe. We propose that subjects with metabolic syndrome, old age, and male gender have the greatest morbidity and mortality and have low stress proteins, in particular, low intracellular heme oxygenase (HO-1), making them particularly vulnerable to the disease. Additionally, COVID-19's heme reduction may contribute to even lower HO-1. Low-grade inflammation associated with these risk factors contributes to triggering a cytokine storm that spreads to multi-organ failure and near death. The high mortality of those treated with ventilator assistance may partially be explained by ventilator-induced inflammation. The cytoprotective and anti-inflammatory properties of HO-1 can limit the infection's damage. A paradox of COVID-19 hospital admissions data suggests that fewer cigarette-smokers are admitted compared with non-smokers in the general population. This unexpected observation may result from smoke induction of HO-1. Therapies with anti-viral properties that raise HO-1 include certain anesthetics (sevoflurane or isoflurane), hemin, estrogen, statins, curcumin, resveratrol, and melatonin. Controlled trials of these HO-1 inducers should be done in order to prevent or treat COVID-19 disease.