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Diabetic Nephropathy and COVID-19: The Potential Role of Immune Actors

Published: 21 July 2021
 by  MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences , Volume 22; doi:10.3390/ijms22157762

Abstract: Nowadays, type II diabetes mellitus, more specifically ensuing diabetic nephropathy, and severe COVID-19 disease are known to be closely associated. The exact mechanisms behind this association are less known. An implication for the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 remains controversial. Some researchers have started looking into other potential actors, such as neuropilin-1, mitochondrial glutathione, vitamin D, and DPP4. In particular, neuropilin-1 seems to play an important role in the underlying mechanism linking COVID-19 and diabetic nephropathy. We suggest, based on the findings in this review, that its up-regulation in the diabetic kidney facilitates viral entry in this tissue, and that the engagement of both processes leads to a depletion of neuropilin-1, which was demonstrated to be strongly associated with the pathogenesis of DN. More studies are needed to confirm this hypothesis, and research should be directed towards elucidating the potential roles of all these suggested actors and eventually discovering new therapeutic strategies that could reduce the burden of COVID-19 in patients with diabetic nephropathy.
Keywords: diabetic nephropathy / COVID-19 / immune actors / Neuropilin-1 / ACE-2 / mitochondrial glutathione / vitamin D / DPP4

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