At the University of Munich, the researchers identified the features of the coronavirus and its effect on the human body. In severe cases, the COVID-19 can lead to blockage of blood vessels in the lungs, heart and kidneys. In these pathologies, the activity of immune cells and platelets plays a key role. The peculiarity of the coronavirus is its ability to infect the respiratory tract.
The infection can make the lungs difficult to function, leading to the use of a ventilator. In such cases, additional complications are also detected, such as pulmonary embolism or blood clots in the veins.
The scientists are not convinced yet that viral respiratory failure may be associated with an increased frequency of blood clots. But a new research helped to reveal the connection. Pathological examination of patients who died from the COVID-19 revealed a huge number of microtubules in the finest weaves of light vascular tissue.
The same observations were made in the heart and kidneys. The blood clots consisted of platelets and activated immune cells. By studying the condition of blood clots, the scientists discovered an interaction between platelets and neutrophils, which are responsible for the formation of blood clots.
The main task of neutrophils is to fight disease-causing pathogens. Their involvement in abnormal blood clotting led to the designation of that process as immunothrombosis. In the COVID-19 patients, stimulation of clot formation disrupted the blood supply to nearby tissues.
And this eventually led to respiratory failure. Using the modern method of multivariate flow cytometry, the scientists were able to establish that in patients with the coronavirus who suffered from pulmonary failure, the number of activated neutrophils and platelets in the bloodstream was very high.
These two types of cells mutually activate each other, and it leads to the formation of blood clots in the lungs.