Low level of plasminogen increases risk for mortality in COVID-19 patients

David Della-Morte, Francesca Pacifici, Camillo Ricordi, Renato Massoud, Valentina Rovella, Stefania Proietti, Mariannina Iozzo, Davide Lauro, Sergio Bernardini, Stefano Bonassi, Nicola Di Daniele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The pathophysiology of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and especially of its complications is still not fully understood. In fact, a very high number of patients with COVID-19 die because of thromboembolic causes. A role of plasminogen, as precursor of fibrinolysis, has been hypothesized. In this study, we aimed to investigate the association between plasminogen levels and COVID-19-related outcomes in a population of 55 infected Caucasian patients (mean age: 69.8 ± 14.3, 41.8% female). Low levels of plasminogen were significantly associated with inflammatory markers (CRP, PCT, and IL-6), markers of coagulation (D-dimer, INR, and APTT), and markers of organ dysfunctions (high fasting blood glucose and decrease in the glomerular filtration rate). A multidimensional analysis model, including the correlation of the expression of coagulation with inflammatory parameters, indicated that plasminogen tended to cluster together with IL-6, hence suggesting a common pathway of activation during disease’s complication. Moreover, low levels of plasminogen strongly correlated with mortality in COVID-19 patients even after multiple adjustments for presence of confounding. These data suggest that plasminogen may play a pivotal role in controlling the complex mechanisms beyond the COVID-19 complications, and may be useful both as biomarker for prognosis and for therapeutic target against this extremely aggressive infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number773
JournalCell Death and Disease
Volume12
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research

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