SARS- CoV-2 infection and oxidative stress in early-onset preeclampsia
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SARS-CoV-2 causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) also in pregnant women. Infection in pregnancy leads to maternal and placental functional alterations. Pregnant women with vascular defects such as preeclampsia show high susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection by undefined mechanisms. Pregnant women infected with SARS-CoV-2 show higher rates of preterm birth and caesarean delivery, and their placentas show signs of vasculopathy and inflammation. It is still unclear whether the foetus is affected by the maternal infection with this virus and whether maternal infection associates with postnatal affections. The SARS-CoV-2 infection causes oxidative stress and activation of the immune system leading to cytokine storm and next tissue damage as seen in the lung. The angiotensin-converting-enzyme 2 expression is determinant for these alterations in the lung. Since this enzyme is expressed in the human placenta, SARS-CoV-2 could infect the placenta tissue, although reported to be of low frequency compared with maternal lung tissue. Early-onset preeclampsia (eoPE) shows higher expression of ADAM17 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 17) causing an imbalanced renin-angiotensin system and endothelial dysfunction. A similar mechanism seems to potentially account for SARS-CoV-2 infection. This review highlights the potentially common characteristics of pregnant women with eoPE with those with COVID-19. A better understanding of the mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 infection and its impact on the placenta function is determinant since eoPE/COVID-19 association may result in maternal metabolic alterations that might lead to a potential worsening of the foetal programming of diseases in the neonate, young, and adult.