Exploring the underlying molecular mechanisms of acute myocardial infarction after SARS-CoV-2 infection


An increase in acute myocardial infarction (AMI)-related deaths has been reported during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite evidence suggesting the association between severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and AMI, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we integrated mRNA and microRNA expression profiles related to SARS-CoV-2 infection and AMI from public databases. We then performed transcriptomic analysis using bioinformatics and systems biology approaches to explore the potential molecular mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 infection affects AMI. First, twenty-one common differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified from SARS-CoV-2 infection and AMI patients in endothelial cells datasets and then we performed functional analysis to predict the roles of these DEGs. The functional analysis emphasized that the endothelial cell response to cytokine stimulus due to excessive inflammation was essential in these two diseases. Importantly, the tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-17 signaling pathways appeared to be integral factors in this mechanism. Interestingly, most of these common genes were also upregulated in transcriptomic datasets of SARS-CoV-2-infected cardiomyocytes, suggesting that these genes may be shared in cardiac- and vascular-related injuries. We subsequently built a protein-protein interaction network and extracted hub genes and essential modules from this network. At the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels, regulatory networks with common DEGs were also constructed, and some key regulator signatures were further identified and validated. In summary, our research revealed that a highly activated inflammatory response in patients with COVID-19 might be a crucial factor for susceptibility to AMI and we identified some candidate genes and regulators that could be used as biomarkers or potential therapeutic targets.

American Heart Journal Plus Cardiology Research and Practice
Xiaotao SHEN
Xiaotao SHEN
Nanyang Assistant Professor

Metabolomics, Multi-omics, Bioinformatics, Systems Biology.